NCAA

Winning memories spur up-tempo VCU against Duke

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Winning memories spur up-tempo VCU against Duke

For many college basketball programs, previous encounters with Duke invoke painful or at least losing memories. Quite the opposite for Virginia Commonwealth - and now the program's current roster has its own opportunity to add a "we beat Duke" chapter to the school's history.

Following Friday's win over No. 19 Memphis, VCU (3-1) faces the fifth ranked Blue Devils (4-0) in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis in Nassau, Bahamas. Giving Duke's ranking and prestige, this game has the illusion of David vs. Goliath to the uninitiated, but quite the opposite to those aware of previous events.

Over the last two seasons, the Shaka Smart-coached Rams have reached the NCAA Tournament's Final Four and the third round this past March. Since winning the National Championship in 2010, Duke bowed out in the round of 16 in 2011 and last year dropped its opening game against Lehigh.

Last season's loss was the Blue Devils earliest exit since 2007, the year VCU stunned Duke 79-77 for the program's first NCAA Tournament win in 22 seasons. Current Oklahoma City Thunder guard Eric Maynor scored 22 points that day five seasons ago in VCU's only meeting against Duke. His free throw line jumper with a second remaining propelled the Rams to what at the time was the biggest win in the program's history.

In the next battle with Duke, once again it will be VCU's backcourt leading the way. To call the Rams up-tempo would not accurately describe the rapid pace Smart choreographs for his squad, especially on defense. Spearheaded by guards Treveon Graham, Darius Theus, Briante Weber and Rob Brandenberg, VCU's relentless pressure forced 22 turnovers against Memphis, leading to 33 points.

Graham leads the Rams in scoring with 14.5 points, just ahead forward Juvonte Reddic (14.3), the team's top post option. Weber and Theus combine for 5.5 steals per game while the Rams average 9.75 3-pointers per game.

Even though Duke has perimeter threats of its own, including sharpshooter Seth Curry (18.3 ppg), VCU would be wise to keep the tempo moving considering the Blue Devils' interior power. 6-foot-10 Mason Plumlee is averaging 21.3 points while shooting a staggering 71.4 percent from the field. Mason Plumlee. The senior dominated with 20 points and 17 rebounds in Thursday's 89-71 win over Minnesota.

The challenge is not lost on Smart, who will battle coaching wits with Duke's famed leader Mike Krzyzewski for the first time.

"Playing Duke, what an incredible opportunity,'' Smart told the Associated Press "We'll be facing arguably the best program in the nation and with no argument the best coach in the modern era.

"But we won't fold up to the test.''

2019 College World Series Central: Bracket, favorites, viewing information

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USA TODAY Sports Images

2019 College World Series Central: Bracket, favorites, viewing information

The four matchups in the first round of the College World Series are set after the final two games of the tournament Super Regionals finished on Monday.

Arkansas and Auburn were the last two teams to make the CWS bracket, after each team won the rubber match in its respective Super Regional, scoring 14 runs apiece.

Of the eight teams vying for the prized college baseball title, two (Michigan and Florida State) were amongst the last four teams in the field of 64 to make the tournament. Now, they join some of the other top teams across the country. 

Michigan beat a No. 1 UCLA team 2-1 in the Los Angeles Super Regional, a Bruins team which hadn't lost a series all season. The Wolverines proved they are a force to be reckoned with as they head to their first CWS appearance since 1984.

Like Michigan, Auburn made the CWS for the first time in over 10 years (the Tigers' last CWS appearance was in 1997).

It's the second consecutive year that Mississippi State, Arkansas and Texas Tech have made the final bracket. Last year, Arkansas was the runner-up after losing to Oregon State in the finals. Mississippi State made it to the semifinals before Oregon State defeated the Bulldogs and went on to win the tournament. 

2019 NCAA COLLEGE WORLD SERIES BRACKET & BROADCAST SCHEDULE

CWS Final Game 3*: Michigan vs. Vanderbilt, Wed. 6/26 at 7 p.m. ET, ESPN

(*if necessary)

FINALIZED RESULTS

Game 1: Michigan 5, Texas Tech 3, Sat. 6/15
Game 2: Florida State 1, Arkansas 0, Sat. 6/15 
Game 3:  Vanderbilt 3, Louisville 1 Sun 6/16
Game 4: Mississippi State 5, Auburn 4, Sun. 6/16 
Game 5: Texas Tech 5, Arkansas 4, Mon. 6/17 | Arkansas eliminated
Game 6: Michigan 2, Florida State 0, Mon. 6/17
Game 7: Louisville 5, Auburn 3, Wed. 6/19 | Auburn eliminated
Game 8: Vanderbilt 6, Mississippi State 3, Wed. 6/19  
Game 9: Texas Tech 4, Florida State 1, Wed. 6/19 | Florida State eliminated
Game 10: Louisville 4, Mississippi State 3, Thurs. 6/20 | Mississippi State eliminated
Game 11: Michigan 15, Texas Tech 3, Fri. 6/21 | Texas Tech eliminated, Michigan advances to final
Game 12: Vanderbilt 3, Louisville 2, Fri. 6/21 | Louisville eliminated, Vanderbilt advances to final

CWS Final Game 1: Michigan 7, Vanderbilt 4, Mon. 6/24 | Michigan leads series 1-0
CWS Final Game 2: Vanderbilt 4, Michigan 1, Tues. 6/25 | Series tied 1-1

FUN FACTS

  • Vandy Rockstar: The Commodores' freshman right-hander Kumar Rocker threw a complete game no-hitter (and 19 Ks) in Game 2 against Duke in the Nashville Super Regional to keep Vanderbilt's championship hopes alive. 
  • Sweeps on Sweeps: Florida State, Louisville and Mississippi State each swept its respective Super Regional. The most notable was the Cardinals' sweep of the East Carolina Pirates, where Louisville outscored ECU 26-1. 
  • No Repeats: Texas Tech defeated the reigning champion Oregon State in the Lubbock Super Regional to ensure there will be a new school crowned champion. 

 

Maryland hosts Notre Dame, Purdue faces Virginia in 2019 Big Ten/ACC Challenge matchups

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ACC Men's Basketball

Maryland hosts Notre Dame, Purdue faces Virginia in 2019 Big Ten/ACC Challenge matchups

The annual matchup continues and we’ve got big news. For the 21st season, two of the prominent conferences will face off in the 2019 Big Ten/ACC Challenge.   

All 14 Big Ten teams will battle against 14 of the 15 ACC teams, with Virginia Tech the lone school not participating. The Challenge will include a total of 14 games spread across Monday, Dec 2nd - Wednesday, Dec. 4th.  

This year’s Challenge will feature eight first-time meetings in the event: Maryland at Notre Dame, Penn State at Wake Forest, Boston College at Northwestern, Florida State at Indiana, Georgia Tech at Nebraska, Iowa at Syracuse, Louisville at Michigan, Pitt at Rutgers. 

Maryland will host Notre Dame on Wednesday, December 4th. The matchup will be the first meeting between the Terps and the Fighting Irish since the 2013-14 season, before the Terps left the ACC. 

In 2018-19, Maryland finished 23-11 overall, good for fifth in the Big Ten. Notre Dame tied for last place in the ACC, finishing a disappointing 14-19. 

Virginia, the reigning national champions will travel to Indiana to take on Purdue. Virginia and Purdue will battle for the third time in the Challenge and fourth time overall. In the 2000 Challenge between the Cavaliers and the Boilermakers, Virginia won 98-79. A few years later in 2006, Purdue beat Virginia 61-59. 'In the Challenge, UVA has an all-time record of 13-6, including a five-game winning streak. UVA beat former ACC rival Maryland 76-71 in last season’s Challenge. 

The Cavaliers and Boilermakers recently faced off against each other in this year’s Elite Eight game. Virginia defeated Purdue 80-75 in overtime.

The ACC has not lost the Challenge since 2015. 

Tip-off times, networks and more information have not yet been provided.

The 2019 Challenge matchups:

Monday, December 2:

Clemson at Minnesota 

Miami at Illinois

Tuesday, December 3:

Michigan at Louisville 

Iowa at Syracuse 

Rutgers at Pitt

Northwestern at Boston College 

Duke at Michigan State 

Florida State at Indiana 

Wednesday, December 4:

Notre Dame at Maryland 

Virginia at Purdue 

Wisconsin at NC State 

Wake Forest at Penn State 

Nebraska at Georgia Tech 

Ohio State at North Carolina

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