Virginia vs. Syracuse: Five things to know


Virginia vs. Syracuse: Five things to know

Virginia stands one win away from its third consecutive 30-win season and its first berth in the Final Four since 1984, but conference foe Syracuse stands in their way. Here's what you need to know:

Who: No. 1 Virginia (29-7) vs. No. 10 Syracuse (22-13)

When: 6:09 p.m. ET on TBS

Where: United Center, Chicago, Ill.

1. How they got here

Virginia has been one of the most impressive teams in the tournament up to this point with strong wins over Hampton, Butler and Iowa State. In Friday’s Sweet 16 game between Virginia's strong defense and Iowa State's explosive offense, defense won out emphatically as UVa jumped out to an early 17-3 lead against the Cyclones and never looked back.

Syracuse won its tournament opener against Dayton in dominating fashion and then benefitted from a major upset in the second round. Instead of meeting Michigan State, the Orange faced Middle Tennessee State and again dominated with a 25-point victory. Down 57-48 with 6:28 left to go against Gonzaga, Syracuse rallied with a 15-3 run to close out the game and advance to Sunday’s Elite Eight matchup.

RELATED: UVa's Mike Tobey talks team's strategy against Syracuse

2. Who is Syracuse?

Heading into the tournament, Syracuse looked largely unimpressive. Head coach Jim Boeheim was suspended for nine games by the NCAA during the season and the Orange lost five of their final six games before they were selected as a 10 seed. Boeheim, however, showed once again that he knows how to win come tournament time.

As a 10 seed, the Orange are the lowest seed remaining in the tournament. Despite that, Syracuse is in the Elite Eight for the third time in five years and the seventh time under Boeheim. On Sunday, they will be playing for the sixth Final Four berth in school history.

The Orange win with their trademark 2-3 zone that seems to confound opposing offenses in March. Syracuse has allowed an average of only 53.7 points per game in their tournament run, less than even the 61.7 points Virginia’s stout defense has yielded in three games.

Just as Iowa State’s Georges Niang presented matchup problems for the Cavaliers in the Sweet 16, Syracuse has their own playmaker in Michael Gbinije who can both drive the rim and shoot from outside. He leads the Orange in scoring, assists and steals this season and is averaging 19.6 points in his last five games.

3. Previous meeting

As conference foes, Virginia and Syracuse met once this season on Jan. 24 in Charlottesville with the Cavaliers earning the 73-65 victory. The score remained close for much of the game with UVa leading 49-48 with just 5:58 remaining before Malcolm Brogdon took over to help the Cavaliers pull away.

There are some pretty obvious reasons, however, why this game may be different. The game was delayed for a day as Snowmageddon hit the Virginia region. With the delay and travel issues, Syracuse was not able to reach Virginia until the afternoon of the game. UVa also benefitted from home court advantage which they will not have Sunday in Chicago. In addition, as mentioned above, Syracuse is a team with tournament experience and really plays its best come March.

Virginia, however, also looks like a team hitting its stride. The win over Syracuse in January improved the Cavaliers’ ACC record to only 4-3. As impressive as the Cavaliers have been in the second half of the season, they certainly did not look that way to pen conference play.

4. Familiar foes

As previously alluded to, one of the major reasons Syracuse finds success come tournament time is their use of the 2-3 zone. Teams who are not familiar with it tend to struggle against it. Virginia, however, has already played and beaten Syracuse this season. In fact, UVa has not lost to the Orange since Tony Bennett took over as head coach.

Not only do the Cavaliers have experience against Syracuse this season, they also have a coach who knows how to beat Boeheim. That's a huge advantage that most teams don't have when they prepare to face the Orange in March.

5. ACC dominance

If Virginia can win on Saturday, they will go from one ACC foe to another as they will face the winner of North Carolina-Notre Dame in the Final Four. The ACC has had an impressive showing in this year’s tournament as the conference has already had six teams in the Sweet 16 and four team in the Elite Eight and is guaranteed two teams in the Final Four.

MORE COLLEGE HOOPS: Gill, Tobey lead Virginia past Iowa State 84-71 in Sweet 16

Former Hoya Marcus Derrickson signs a two-way contract with Golden State Warriors


Former Hoya Marcus Derrickson signs a two-way contract with Golden State Warriors

Leaving the Georgetown Hoyas a season early is initially paying off for Marcus Derrickson. 

Less than a month before what would have been his senior season at Georgetown, the 6-7 forward has signed a two-way contract with the Golden State Warriors. 

Derrickson nabbed the second two-way position on the Warriors after an outstanding Summer League translated to a solid preseason.

Fitting right into the Warriors deep-ball oriented scheme, Derrickson was 6-16 from three point range during the five-game preseason. He's a versatile stretch-four that continues to develop and improve on his outside game. 

By signing a two-way contract, the former All-Big East Second teamer will have a chance to get called up to the two-time defending NBA champions at any point this season for up to 45 days. The remaining time will be with the Warriors' G-league affiliate the Santa Cruz Warriors

This arrangement will earn Derrickson a contract of $75,000 and a prorated amount for however much time he is practicing/ playing with Golden State. 

If he is called up to the NBA for more than the allotted 45 days, then the Warriors are obligated to give him a minimum rookie contract. 

Derrickson continues to prove himself as the list of aspiring players dwindles. As each contract begins to near its end, the Warriors time after time offer another opportunity.


West Virginia, Penn State drop in new AP top 25 poll


West Virginia, Penn State drop in new AP top 25 poll

After four of the top eight teams lost, The Associated Press college football poll had a new look behind No. 1 Alabama, with Ohio State reaching No. 2, LSU jumping back to No. 5 and Michigan moving into the top 10 for the first time this season.

The Crimson Tide received all but one of the 61 first-place votes from the media panel Sunday, with Ohio State receiving the other. No. 3 Clemson and No. 4 Notre Dame also moved up a spot. LSU jumped eight after handing Georgia its first loss of the season. The Bulldogs slipped from No. 2 to No. 8.

No. 6 Michigan has its best ranking of the season after blowing out Wisconsin and Texas is up two spots to No. 7.

No. 9 Oklahoma moved back into the top 10 while it was idle and Central Florida remained No. 10.


1. Alabama 7-0 (60 first-place votes, no change from last week)

2. Ohio State 7-0 (1 first-place vote, No. 3 last week)

3. Clemson 6-0 (No. 4 last week)

4. Notre Dame 7-0 (No. 5 last week)

5. LSU 6-1 (No. 13 last week)

6. Michigan 6-1 (No. 12 last week)

7. Texas 6-1 (No. 9 last week)

8. Georgia 6-1 (No. 2 last week)

9. Oklahoma 5-1 (No. 11 last week)

10. UCF 6-0 (No change from last week)

11. Florida 6-1 (No. 14 last week)

12. Oregon 5-1 (No. 17 last week)

13. West Virginia 5-1 (No. 6 last week)

14. Kentucky 5-1 (No. 18 last week)

15. Washington 5-2 (No. 7 last week)

16. NC State 5-0 (No. 20 last week)

17. Texas A&M 5-2 (No. 22 last week)

18. Penn State 4-2 (No. 8 last week)

19. Iowa 5-1 (Not ranked last week)

20. Cincinnati 6-0 (No. 25 last week)

21. South Florida 6-0 (No. 23 last week)

22. Mississippi State 4-2 (No. 24 last week)

23. Wisconsin 4-2 (No. 15 last week)

24. Michigan State 4-2 (Not ranked last week)

25. Washington State 5-1 (Not ranked last week)

Virginia and Maryland are among those that received votes, with each team getting two apiece.


Eight ranked teams overall lost Saturday, including three previously unbeaten teams. Joining Georgia among the previously undefeated on Saturday were West Virginia and Colorado.


All the losses up and down the rankings meant plenty of movement. Joining LSU and Michigan as teams that gained at least four spots were:

-- No. 12 Oregon jumped five after beating Washington in overtime. The Ducks have their best ranking since September 2015.

-- No. 17 Texas A&M moved up five after edging South Carolina on the road.

-- It was a good week to be idle and watch teams plummet. No. 14 Kentucky and No. 16 North Carolina State each gained four spots in an idle week, and No. 20 Cincinnati moved up five.


-- No. 13 West Virginia lost at Iowa State and fell seven spots after reaching a season high last week.

-- No. 15 Washington dropped eight spots after losing at Oregon.

-- No. 18 Penn State's second straight close home loss, this time to Michigan State, dropped the Nittany Lions 10 spots.

-- No. 23 Wisconsin, which started the season ranked fourth, dropped eight spots after its second loss.


-- Colorado reached No. 19, racking up wins against a weak schedule, but USC manhandled the Buffaloes in Los Angeles and now they are unranked.

-- Miami, which started the season at No. 8, is out altogether after losing at Virginia.

-- Auburn, which started the season ninth, is out and no longer receiving votes after getting beat at home by Tennessee and falling to 4-3.


-- Iowa surged into the rankings for the first time this season at No. 19.

-- No. 24 Michigan State is back in after a week out.

-- No. 25 Washington State moved in just in time to host ESPN's "College GameDay" for the first time ever with Oregon coming to town. Getting to Pullman, Washington, is notable for the show because for years it has been followed around by Wazzu fans waving the `Ol Crimson school flag.


A week after the Southeastern Conference placed a season-high eight teams in the poll, the SEC lost one and the Big Ten gained two. The ACC has only two ranked team for the first time since Oct. 4, 2015, when Clemson was No. 6 and Florida State was No. 12. The Tigers played for in the national championship game that season.

SEC -- 7 teams (1, 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 23).

Big Ten -- 6 (2, 6, 18, 19, 22, 24).

American -- 3 (10, 20, 21).

Big 12 -- 3 (7, 9, 13).

Pac-12 -- 3 (12, 15, 25).

ACC -- 2 (3, 16).

Independent -- 1 (4).


No. 16 North Carolina State at No. 3 Clemson. The ACC's only ranked and unbeaten teams meet in a game that will likely go a long way toward settling the Atlantic Division.

No. 22 Mississippi State at No. 5 LSU. This will be the fourth ranked team the Tigers have faced -- though two (Miami and Auburn) are no longer.

No. 6 Michigan at No. 24 Michigan State. Another chance for Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines to flipped the narrative.

No. 12 Oregon at No. 25 Washington State. The Ducks look to make it an Evergreen State sweep.