NCAA

Virginia solidly still No. 1, but Michigan State, Xavier are making moves

Virginia solidly still No. 1, but Michigan State, Xavier are making moves

A second blowout loss to Villanova didn't stop Xavier from notching the program's highest AP Top 25 ranking a week ago. The Musketeers are rising again, passing the Wildcats on Monday to reach yet another program high at No. 3.

The poll switch comes after the Musketeers beat Georgetown in their only game last week and Villanova lost to unranked Creighton. The Wildcats dropped just one spot, to No. 4, and a game behind Xavier in the Big East standings.

Virginia firmed up its hold on the No. 1 ranking, receiving 48 votes from a media panel in the poll released on Monday, up six from a week ago. No. 2 Michigan State, which clinched the Big Ten title this weekend, received 17 first-place votes and Duke rounded out the top five.

The Musketeers (25-4, 13-3 Big East) rolled over Georgetown 89-77 despite leading scorer Trevon Blueitt being held to two points on 1-of-10 shooting. Blueitt, who averages 19.8 points per game, has 3 combined points his last two visits to Washington, D.C.

"I hope that the Big East tournament isn't played here," Xavier coach Chris Mack said he told Bluiett in jest toward the end of the game. "I think maybe folks in D.C. that don't have a TV and come to the games they may think he's an average player, a below average player."

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Virginia was the top overall seed when the NCAA Tournament selection committee revealed its initial rankings of the top 16 teams two weeks ago. The Cavaliers moved up to No. 1 despite losing to Virginia Tech a day before the rankings were released.

Last week, Virginia (26-2, 14-1 ACC) won its third ACC title in five years by dominating Pittsburgh, limiting the Panthers to seven first-half points in a 66-37 victory.

The Cavaliers are still in line to receive the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.

"It was something that we knew about coming into this game, so it was exciting," Virginia forward Isaiah Wilkins said. "It is a good feeling, but there is still a lot of basketball to be played."

KANSAS CLIMBS, ZAGS FALL

Kansas and Gonzaga both won conference titles this past weekend.

The Jayhawks' Big 12 title was enough to move them ahead of the Zags in this week's poll.

Kansas (23-6, 12-4) clinched its record-setting 14th straight Big 12 title with a 74-72 win over No. 6 Texas Tech on Saturday. The title broke the record the Jayhawks held with UCLA, which had 13 straight Pac-10 titles from 1967-79.

Kansas moved up two spots to No. 6.

The Jayhawks' move cost Gonzaga (27-4, 17-1) a spot in the poll despite clinching its 18th regular-season West Coast Conference title in the past 19 years. The Bulldogs dropped a spot to No. 7.

RED RAIDERS FALLING

Texas Tech tied Gonzaga at No. 6 last week for the program's highest ranking.

The Red Raiders (22-7, 10-6 Big 12) took a big tumble this week, dropping to No. 12 after losses to Oklahoma State and Kansas ran their losing streak to three games. The streak has coincided with a toe injury to Keenan Evans suffered against Baylor on Feb. 17. He scored in single digits in all three games.

SMALL CHANGES

The AP Top 25 has been volatile most of the season, with drastic changes coming nearly every week.

Poll movement was limited to small changes for the most part this week.

Florida State dropped out of the poll and Kentucky moved back in. Texas Tech had the biggest drop of teams still in the poll and Arizona was next, falling five spots to No. 19.

The biggest move up: Ohio State three spots to No. 13.

COMPLETE AP TOP 25 POLL (2/26)

1. Virginia (48 votes, No. 1 last week)

2. Michigan State (17, No. 2)

3. Xavier (No. 4)

4. Villanova (No. 3)

5. Duke (No. 5)

6. Kansas (No. 8)

7. Gonzaga (No. 6)

8. Purdue (No. 9)

9. North Carolina (No. 10)

10. Cincinnati (No. 11)

11. Wichita State (No. 13)

12. Texas Tech (No. 6)

13. Ohio State (No. 16)

14. Auburn (No. 12)

15. Michigan (No. 17)

16. Tennessee (No. 19)

17. Rhode Island (No. 18)

18. Clemson (No. 15)

19. Arizona (No. 14)

20. West Virginia (No. 21)

21. Nevada (No. 20)

22. Saint Mary's (No. 22)

23. Kentucky (NR)

24. Middle Tennessee (No. 24)

25. Houston (No. 23)

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Maryland nabs transfer forward Jairus Hamilton from Boston College

Maryland nabs transfer forward Jairus Hamilton from Boston College

The Maryland Terrapins have reloaded their frontcourt depth with adding Boston College transfer Jairus Hamilton.

Current rules will have the forward having to sit out a year before his final two years of eligibility. However, the NCAA is voting at the end of June to have a one-time transfer waiver that would allow players to not have to sit for their first transfer.

At Boston College, the 6-foot-8 forward started 20 games last year as he battled an undisclosed injury. He significantly rose his per-game averages to 9.5 and 4.3 rebounds from his freshman year and was a critical part of the Eagles' offense. 

Primarily playing as a lengthy wing, he won't have the same presence as Jalen Smith did in the post the last two seasons with the Terps. Hamilton shot 28% from behind the arc in 2019-20, attempting the fourth-most threes on the team. The Charlotte native can play and attack the post, but is not your typical shot-blocking, rebounding big man. Assuming Smith is entering the NBA draft, Maryland will still need to find depth under the basket. 

The former four-star prospect and top-100 recruit received an offer from Maryland when recruited out of high school. As a member of the Class of 2018, he was in the same recruiting class as Smith.

Earlier this week it was reported that the Terps were also interested in Yale transfer Jordan Bruner. The grad transfer could immediately come in next season and presumably fill in Smith's role.

With Smith still on the roster, there is only one open scholarship available for the 2020-21 season, according to Verbal Commits

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Howard women's soccer officially wins the toilet paper juggle challenge

Howard women's soccer officially wins the toilet paper juggle challenge

Everyone can go ahead and stop posting their attempt at the toilet paper juggling challenge because Howard University women's soccer has officially won.

In a video posted Thursday, 23 members of the team can be seen juggling a roll of toilet paper and continuously passing it off to their teammates off-screen. 

In the age of coronavirus, social distancing and owning toilet paper rolls are some of the most prominent aspects of the pandemic. This particular toilet paper challenge combines them in a fun way. 

The toilet paper challenge began when bored pro athletes challenged each other to juggle a roll of toilet paper ten times in a row without it falling to the ground. Lionel Messi was one of the first to do it and the internet, as it does, took the idea and ran with it. 

It was fun to watch all the videos while the challenge lasted, but as we've already said, Howard has won this one. 

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