NCAA

The VCU-George Mason rivalry is back and it’s beautiful

The VCU-George Mason rivalry is back and it’s beautiful

BY TYLER BYRUM

FAIRFAX, VA -- There was a double dose of Havoc defense in EagleBank Arena on Friday night.  A high-paced contest with 36 turnovers combined, led the fast break Rams to a 73-64 victory over George Mason.

Bodies were flying, fan bases out-shouting each other and the teams on the court played like it was a Lakers-Celtics battle.

Remember the old CAA VCU vs. George Mason matchups? That’s what you got in Fairfax, Virginia to kick off Atlantic 10 conference play.

JeQuan Lewis was the front of the charge with 26 points and was one of three Rams that reached double figures. Mo Allie-Cox was a rebound shy of a double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds.

Looking to run the Patriots out of their own building, VCU (11-3, 1-0) pushed the pace early. Off every defensive rebound they pushed the transition, after every basket VCU played with a full court press; Mason simply could not keep up.

Leading to a 13-0 run in the first half, the Rams built a 19-7 advantage that the Patriots would slowly chip away at for the remainder of the first.

Behind a home crowd that George Mason (10-4, 0-1) has not seen in years, Mason made it 36-35 at half.

Combating the Rams size, Mason pounded the paint with bodies, providing their own havoc, and forced the Rams to shoot over them. Focusing on defensive rebounding, Mo Allie-Cox and Justin Tillman were held to only three offensive boards in the first half.

However, there is only one team though that can control the Havoc, and that is VCU.

Keeping the tempo racing, Mason could not keep up with the Rams. Full court pressure limited the Patriots to a shorter shot clock and careless passes gave the Rams 16 points off turnovers. Dominating the paint, 44-32, VCU never allowed the Patriots to take the lead in the second half.

After the Patriots attempted to beat the Rams at their own game, VCU commanded the glass in the second half. Winning the battle of the boards 42-31, against a team that came in with a plus-10 rebounding advantage, limited Mason’s second chance points and kept momentum on the Rams side.

Shutting down the double-double machine in Marquise Moore (10 points, six rebounds), coming in with eight double-doubles on the season, became a pivotal turn for the Rams. The only way to cover Moore is with a quick guard on the outside and an agile big in the paint: Lewis and Allie-Cox.

In the second half he only brought in one board.

VCU jumps to an early lead in the conference standings with them and the Patriots having the best non-conference record in the league.

The rematch will not take place until the end of the season on March 4, but it will surely be one to watch in Richmond.

MORE NCAA HOOPS: THE MATCHUP: VIRGINIA TECH VS. #5 DUKE

Lipscomb at Louisville Basketball: Date, Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

louisville-lipscomb.jpg
USA Today Sports

Lipscomb at Louisville Basketball: Date, Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Louisville (6-3) is looking to bounce back after a tough 68-67 loss to Indiana on Saturday. The Cardinals welcome the Lipscomb Bisons (7-2) to town for a non-conference affair.

Lipscomb, who was picked to finish second in the Atlantic Sun, has won five of its last six games including a 107-81 victory over Navy on Sunday in Nashville. 

In the first year of the Chris Mack era, Louisville is averaging 81.7 points per game through nine games and upset #9 Michigan St. back on November 27, 82-78 in overtime.

Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington Plus. 

Lipscomb at Louisville How to Watch

What: Lipscomb Bisons at Louisville Cardinals
Where: KFC Yum! Center, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
When: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV Channel: NBC Sports Washington Plus (Channel Finder)

Lipscomb at Louisville Preview

Conference: ACC (Louisville), Atlantic Sun (Lipscomb)
Record: 6-3 (Louisville), 7-2 (Lipscomb)
Last Game: 68-67 Loss at Indiana, 12/8 (Louisville), 107-81 Win vs. Navy, 11/28 (Lipscomb)
Leading Scorers: Jordan Nwora, 17.8ppg (Louisville), Rob Marberry, 16.9ppg (Lipscomb)
 

Virginia drops in new AP top 25 poll, while Virginia Tech's stock is on the rise

mamadi_diakite_virginia_usat.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Virginia drops in new AP top 25 poll, while Virginia Tech's stock is on the rise

Kansas is back where it started the season.

The preseason No. 1, the Jayhawks are again the top-ranked in The Associated Press Top 25 despite struggling to get past New Mexico State at home. Kansas received 57 first-place votes from a 65-person media panel in the poll released Monday, sliding into the top spot after previous No. 1 Gonzaga lost to Tennessee.

No. 2 Duke moved up a spot and received four first-place votes. No. 3 Tennessee, No. 4 Gonzaga, No. 5 Michigan and No. 6 Virginia received the other first-place votes.

No. 7 Nevada, Auburn, Michigan State and Florida State rounded out the top 10.

The Jayhawks were the preseason No. 1, but dropped a spot after Duke decimated then-No. 2 Kentucky to open the season.

Gonzaga moved to No. 1 after beating Duke in the Maui Invitational title game, lasting two weeks before losing 76-73 to the Vols Sunday in Phoenix.

Kansas (8-0) kept winning, though needed a big game from Dedric Lawson to beat New Mexico State in Kansas City on Saturday. Lawson, a preseason All-American, had 20 points, including the final 14 for Kansas, and 10 rebounds in the tighter than expected 63-60 victory.

Kansas played without center Udoka Azubuike, but coach Bill Self was not buying any excuses for the struggles.

"We were fortunate tonight," he said. "How in the world we've won these games ... it's one thing to not play well, it's another thing to not play well and not be intellectually into the game and that was certainly the case tonight."

It was good enough to get the Jayhawks past the Aggies -- and move to No. 1.

COMPLETE AP TOP 25 POLL WEEK 6

1. Kansas 8-0 (57 first-place votes, No. 2 last week)

2. Duke 9-1 (4 first-place votes, No. 3 last week)

3. Tennessee 7-1 (1 first-place vote, No. 7 last week)

4. Gonzaga 9-1 (1 first-place vote, No. 1 last week)

5. Michigan 10-0 (1 first-place vote, no change from last week)

6. Virginia 9-0 (1 first-place vote, No. 4 last week)

7. Nevada 10-0 (No. 6 last week)

8. Auburn 8-1 (No change from last week)

9. Michigan State 8-2 (No. 10 last week)

10. Florida State 8-1 (No. 11 last week)

11. Texas Tech 8-0 (No. 13 last week)

12. North Carolina 7-2 (No. 14 last week)

13. Virginia Tech 8-1 (No. 15 last week)

14. Buffalo 9-0 (No. 17 last week)

15. Ohio State 8-1 (No. 19 last week)

16. Wisconsin 8-2 (No. 12 last week)

17. Villanova 8-2 (No. 21 last week)

18. Mississippi State 8-1 (No. 22 last week)

19. Kentucky 7-2 (No. 9 last week)

20. Arizona State 7-1 (No change from last week)

21. Marquette 8-2 (Not ranked last week)

22. Iowa 7-2 (No. 18 last week_

23. Furman 10-0 (No. 25 last week)

24. Houston 8-0 (Not ranked last week)

25. Indiana 8-2 (Not ranked last week)

25. Syracuse 7-2 (Not ranked last week)

25. Kansas State 6-2 (No. 16 last week)

VOLS RISING

Tennessee picked up its biggest win in four seasons under coach Rick Barnes by knocking off Gonzaga in the Colangelo Classic.

The Vols (7-1) kept their poise and made the biggest plays down the stretch, holding off the Zags 76-73 after Admiral Schofield scored 25 of his 30 points in the second half and hit two key 3-pointers.

The victory was Tennessee's first over a No. 1 team since beating Kansas in 2010 and Barnes' first in 31 years as a head coach.

The Vols have their highest AP ranking since hitting No. 1 in 2007-08.

FURMAN HOLDS STEADY

Furman moved into the poll for the first time last week, thanks to a resume that includes wins over 2018 Final Four teams Villanova and Loyola-Chicago.

The Paladins (10-0) moved up two spots in this week's poll to No. 23 after beating Elon and South Carolina Upstate.

Furman plays Charleston Southern on Tuesday and UNC Wilmington Saturday.

TOP 27

This week's poll had a rarity: Three teams tied for the final spot.

Syracuse, Indiana and Kansas State all came in at No. 25 after receiving 118 points. It's the first three-way tie in the AP Top 25 since three teams shared No. 13 in 1991.

The Hoosiers are ranked for the first time since climbing to No. 3 in 2016-17. The Orange moved back into the Top 25 after beating Northeastern and Georgetown.

The Wildcats dropped nine spots from No. 16 after losing to Tulsa.

RISING

Tennessee matched the biggest climb of the week, moving up four spots from No. 7.

No. 15 Ohio State, No. 17 Villanova and No. 18 Mississippi also moved up four.

FALLING

No. 19 Kentucky had the largest drop this week, losing 10 spots to No. 19 after losing to Seton Hall in overtime. Kansas State was next at nine. Maryland also dropped out of the top 25 after being ranked No. 23 last week.

MOVING IN

In addition to Syracuse and Indiana, No. 21 Marquette and No. 24 Houston each moved into the poll this week.

The Cougars are ranked for the first time since hitting No. 21 last season and the Golden Eagles are back in the poll after dropping out in Week 3.

MORE NCAA NEWS