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Basketball
  
Saturday, 20 December 2014
Virginia College Hoops Awards for non-conference play
With Christmas coming up later this week, I decided to get in the spirit of giving by handing
out college basketball awards for Virginia for the non-conference portion of the schedule.
With conference play around the corner, we took a look back at the good (presents) and the
bad (coal) of college hoops in the Commonwealth for the 2014 part of the 14-15 season.
MVP: Trey Freeman  ODU
The junior guard is averaging 17.1 PPG and 3.1 APG, both which lead the team. Freeman
has led the Monarchs to a 9-1 record, which is good for first place in Conference USA. ODU
has 6 wins against the top 100 RPI team,  including wins against LSU, rival VCU and
Richmond.  Freeman played at Campbell in 2012-13 season and made the second team all-
Big South , but had to sit out last year after his waiver to transfer immediately was denied.
ODU could have used him as they went 16-17 (9-7 C-USA) . This season Freeman has
played with a vengeance and scored over 20 points in 4 of the ten games thus far. ODU
was decent last season, but the addition of Freeman has made the Monarchs to take the
next step to being a contender in the C-USA.
Most Improved :  Justin Anderson UVA
The Wahoos are 10-0 despite losing current Cleveland Cavalier Joe Harris and Akil
Mitchell. The defending ACC champs have not fallen due in large part to the improvement
of Anderson. He has improved in nearly every scoring category, jumping from 7.8 PPG to
15.8, 50.7% shooting to 56.7% and improved his three point shooting from 29.4% to an
astounding 59.5%. Anderson doesnt take bad shots and has a great stroke to go along with
his superb leaping ability that lead to many highlight dunks. Many season previews labeled
Malcolm Brogdon as the man who UVA would look to score the ball because he was the
leading scorer last season, but Anderson has filled that role admirably.
Freshmen of year: Justin Bibbs  Virginia Tech
Bibbs is the Hokies’ leading scorer 12.2 ppg . Bibbs knew he had the opportunity to  play
alot this season because 4 players left the team after former coach James Johnson was
fired. Buzz Williams knew it would be a tough task to rebuild the Hokies basketball program
coming off a 9-22 (2-16 ACC) season. It has not been a quick fix at all for Tech as they
have gotten off to a 5-4 start that includes losses to Radford and Appalachian State. Bibbs
signed his letter of intent under Johnson and decided to stay in the program. His loyalty has
been rewarded from an individual perspective as he has been bright spot of Tech’s season.
His best game was when he scored 22 points on 5-6 three point shooting against Miami of
Ohio.
Most disappointing team: VCU
It feels funny to call a team that is 7-3 with the second hardest strength of schedule in the
country a disappointment, but that is what the Rams have been thus far. After beginning the
season ranked #15 in the country and welcoming a consensus top 15 recruiting class to
Richmond, the results have been less than stellar. It is not the fact that they have lost, but it
has been the margin of defeat in each loss in their big games. VCU lost  to Villanova by 24,
UVA by 17 at home and to ODU by 6 in a game that they were trailing by double digits most
of the game. However, the heralded freshmen have been playing better lately and if they
continue to develop the Rams could still be a dangerous team come March.
Most under the radar: William and Mary
William and Mary was picked to finish second in the CAA preseason coaches poll and
senior guard Marcus Thornton was the CAA Preseason Player of the Year. The Tribe also
returned last season’s CAA rookie of the year in  Omar Prewitt. The team has lived up to
their preseason accolades by getting off to a solid 6-3 start. Thornton has picked up right
where he left off ,averaging 18.9 PPG after averaging 18.7 last season and 18.8 the year
prior. Despite having a strong team, they are not talked about outside of Williamsburg. They
are a contender to win the CAA tournament and would be a good upset pick if they get the
right matchup in the NCAA tournament.
Most irrelevant: George Mason
It seems like a seven seasons ago that George Mason made the Final Four. Jim Larranaga
wasn’t able to capitalize on the momentum of a Final Four run the way Shaka Smart has
been able to sustain a consistent NCAA tournament team.  Paul Hewitt hasn’t been able to
recapture any of the former glory since being hired in 2011. Hewitt hasnt attracted elite
talent to Mason despite being close to the DC/Baltimore recruiting hotbed. In thier inaugural
season in the A-10 last year the Patriots went 11-20 (4-12 A-10). This season they are off to
a 3-6 start this season and don’t appear to be close to being in the discussion of the top
teams in Virginia for quite some time.
Kris Mason is a senior psychology and economics double major at Virginia Commonwealth University. He
also is a staff writer for VCU's student paper, The Commonwealth Times.

With Christmas coming up later this week, I decided to get in the spirit of giving by handing 
out college basketball awards for Virginia for the non-conference portion of the schedule. 
With conference play around the corner, we took a look back at the good (presents) and the 
bad (coal) of college hoops in the Commonwealth for the 2014 part of the 14-15 season. 


MVP: Trey Freeman  ODU


The junior guard is averaging 17.1 PPG and 3.1 APG, both which lead the team. Freeman 
has led the Monarchs to a 9-1 record, which is good for first place in Conference USA. ODU 
has 6 wins against the top 100 RPI team,  including wins against LSU, rival VCU and 
Richmond.  Freeman played at Campbell in 2012-13 season and made the second team all- 
Big South , but had to sit out last year after his waiver to transfer immediately was denied. 
ODU could have used him as they went 16-17 (9-7 C-USA) . This season Freeman has 
played with a vengeance and scored over 20 points in 4 of the ten games thus far. ODU 
was decent last season, but the addition of Freeman has made the Monarchs to take the 
next step to being a contender in the C-USA.

 
Most Improved :  Justin Anderson UVA

 

The Wahoos are 10-0 despite losing current Cleveland Cavalier Joe Harris and Akil 
Mitchell. The defending ACC champs have not fallen due in large part to the improvement 
of Anderson. He has improved in nearly every scoring category, jumping from 7.8 PPG to 
15.8, 50.7% shooting to 56.7% and improved his three point shooting from 29.4% to an 
astounding 59.5%. Anderson doesnt take bad shots and has a great stroke to go along with 
his superb leaping ability that lead to many highlight dunks. Many season previews labeled 
Malcolm Brogdon as the man who UVA would look to score the ball because he was the 
leading scorer last season, but Anderson has filled that role admirably.


Freshmen of year: Justin Bibbs  Virginia Tech


Bibbs is the Hokies’ leading scorer 12.2 ppg . Bibbs knew he had the opportunity to  play 
alot this season because 4 players left the team after former coach James Johnson was 
fired. Buzz Williams knew it would be a tough task to rebuild the Hokies basketball program 
coming off a 9-22 (2-16 ACC) season. It has not been a quick fix at all for Tech as they 
have gotten off to a 5-4 start that includes losses to Radford and Appalachian State. Bibbs 
signed his letter of intent under Johnson and decided to stay in the program. His loyalty has 
been rewarded from an individual perspective as he has been bright spot of Tech’s season. 
His best game was when he scored 22 points on 5-6 three point shooting against Miami of 
Ohio.


Most disappointing team: VCU


It feels funny to call a team that is 7-3 with the second hardest strength of schedule in the 
country a disappointment, but that is what the Rams have been thus far. After beginning the 
season ranked #15 in the country and welcoming a consensus top 15 recruiting class to 
Richmond, the results have been less than stellar. It is not the fact that they have lost, but it 
has been the margin of defeat in each loss in their big games. VCU lost  to Villanova by 24, 
UVA by 17 at home and to ODU by 6 in a game that they were trailing by double digits most 
of the game. However, the heralded freshmen have been playing better lately and if they 
continue to develop the Rams could still be a dangerous team come March.


Most under the radar: William and Mary


William and Mary was picked to finish second in the CAA preseason coaches poll and 
senior guard Marcus Thornton was the CAA Preseason Player of the Year. The Tribe also 
returned last season’s CAA rookie of the year in  Omar Prewitt. The team has lived up to 
their preseason accolades by getting off to a solid 6-3 start. Thornton has picked up right 
where he left off ,averaging 18.9 PPG after averaging 18.7 last season and 18.8 the year 
prior. Despite having a strong team, they are not talked about outside of Williamsburg. They 
are a contender to win the CAA tournament and would be a good upset pick if they get the 
right matchup in the NCAA tournament.


Most irrelevant: George Mason


It seems like a seven seasons ago that George Mason made the Final Four. Jim Larranaga 
wasn’t able to capitalize on the momentum of a Final Four run the way Shaka Smart has 
been able to sustain a consistent NCAA tournament team.  Paul Hewitt hasn’t been able to 
recapture any of the former glory since being hired in 2011. Hewitt hasnt attracted elite 
talent to Mason despite being close to the DC/Baltimore recruiting hotbed. In thier inaugural 
season in the A-10 last year the Patriots went 11-20 (4-12 A-10). This season they are off to 
a 3-6 start this season and don’t appear to be close to being in the discussion of the top 
teams in Virginia for quite some time.

 

Photos courtesy of Creative Commons


Kris Mason is a senior psychology and economics double major at Virginia Commonwealth University. He 
also is a staff writer for VCU's student paper, The Commonwealth Times.

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Basketball
  
Thursday, 18 December 2014

Let me preface this article, for those who came here just from the title, by saying that this is not aimed toward current Wizards or even NBA fans. No; this is aimed at those fans of the Redskins who are so desperately surfing through channels having had enough with their team’s current two-decade-long rebuilding phase.

With the  NFL regular season winding down and the playoffs to begin soon, the Redskins are clearly out of contention for a playoff spot, and even worse, don’t seem to have any discernable plan going into next season (and firing people doesn’t count as a plan). RGIII has been all but a bust and his back-ups have not proven very fruitful either. This begs the question, are Redskins’ fans ready to start caring about the Washington Wizards? Wizards

Quietly, the NBA team that actually plays much closer to Richmond and Virginia as a whole has been leading their division as well as showing that they are a serious title contender. They are leading their division with a current record of 18-6 and are second in the Eastern Conference above Lebron’s Cavs and Derrick Rose’s Bulls, the two teams that were expected to be the best. They even have their own bona-fide superstar in former number-one pick John Wall, who has upped his defense, as well as added a passable jump-shot to his arsenal.

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Football
  
Monday, 15 December 2014

The NFL season is coming down the stretch as we head to the final two weeks of the season. The NFC playoff race has become a game of musical chairs that will determine which team with a winning record will miss the playoffs while the NFC South champion will most likely have a sub .500 record but will still host a playoff game.

The 9-5 Eagles would be that team if the season ended today. Thier 38-27 loss on Sunday Night Football to Dallas gave the Cowboys control of their own destiny , meaning if the Boys win out against the Colts and Redskins then they will be divisions champs.

The Panthers currently lead the horrendous NFC South with a record of 5-8-1 , ahead of the 5-8 Saints ( who play at Chicago tonight on MNF), the 5-9 Falcons and the 2-12 Bucs.

This means that despite the Eagles beating the Panthers 45-21 in November and being guaranteed to finish with a minimum of 2 more wins than Carolina, the Panthers would make the playoffs while the Eagles would not.

The other teams in the hunt to to make the playoffs include four 10-4 teams :the Cowboys, Packers, Lions and Seahawks.

Its is unjust the any NFC South teams will  get a spot in playoffs, let alone a home playoff game in Round 1.

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Basketball
  
Sunday, 07 December 2014

The seventh ranked Virginia Cavaliers  faced a daunting task on Saturday when they traveled to Richmond to face VCU at the Siegel Center, where VCU had won 22 straight games. The Wahoos were up to the task and defeated VCU 74-57 on Saturday to improve to 9-0.They proved that they are a top ten team with a great chance to return to the programs first Final Four since 1983.

Justin Anderson 21 points 8 rebounds. Whenever U.Va needed a basket, The 6-6 junior guard delivered, whether it was a dunk or three pointer. He was incredibly efficient, shooting 6-7 from the field.

uva-vcuVirginia was in control the entire game, and they were able to withstand every VCU run. The Rams cut lead to 4 after Treveon Graham hit 3 straight threes with 6:51 to play.The Cavaliers demonstrated their poise and experience by responding with a 15-0 run.

They were not phased by the whiteout and raucous VCU crowd. The Cavs rosters of upperclassmen junior class of Malcolm Brogdon,Anthony Gill, Mike Tobey, Evan Nolte and Anderson had all played in tough environments before such as Cameron Indoor Stadium, so they were able to keep their composure when VCU went on their run.

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Football
  
Thursday, 27 November 2014

uva_vtThe 96th edition of the Commonwealth Cup will take place tomorrow night  at 8 pm in Blacksburg. The primetime game will be televised on ESPN. While there have certainly been matchups in the rivalry with higher stakes, the 2014 game will have no shortage of intensity from players on both sidelines. With both programs at a crossroads, it has the potential to be one of the most meaningful games in the history of the rivalry.

Both teams are 5-6, one win shy of bowl eligibility. Virginia Tech is desperately trying to extend the second longest consecutive bowl streak in the nation to 22 years in a row. On the other hand, the Wahoos would love nothing more than to make a bowl game for the first time since 2011 while simultaneously ending their rival’s bowl streak.

Yahoo’s Pat Forde accurately described the feelings of the two fanbases toward each other in this week’s edition of the Forde Yard Dash: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/forde-yard-dash-091158096-ncaaf.html

“Hate meter: The enmity is alive and well, though neither side can be cocky in the grand scheme of things. Thomas Jefferson’s university has the classic, We Were Here First You Uncultured Heathen outlook on the old ag-and-mechanical cow college. The response from Blacksburg is to dislike the perceived arrogance of the entitled prepwads in Charlottesville. Some Virginia fans expressed there-goes-the-neighborhood dismay when Virginia Tech was allowed to join the ACC.”

Both coaches have been rumored to be on the hot seat. Since being hired in 2010, Mike London has guided the Cavs to one winning season and has an overall record of 23-37.  UVA AD Craig Littlepage tried to tame the swirling rumors on Wednesday by publicly backing London and saying that he will return as head coach in 2015, much to the dismay of many Virginia fans. Frank Beamer led the Hokies to records of 7-6 and 8-5 the past two years after winning double digit games every year from 2004-2011. Winning this game could cool the animosity from the fans towards either coach, at least temporarily..

The teams come in with opposite waves of momentum. UVA is coming off a shocking win over Miami 30-13. Tech lost to Wake Forest 6-3 in double OT last week after being held scoreless in regulation.

While this year’s game figures to be close, that has not been the case in recent history. After UVA won the Cup in 1998, the all time- series record had Virginia Tech narrowly leading 39-36-5. However since then, Tech has won 14 of 15 games, including the last 10.

The Black Friday matchup is a far cry from the 2004, 2007 and 2011 matchups in which both teams entered the game ranked in the top 25. This years winner will be .500 while the loser will have their season end with a losing record. It is a case where the shame of losing will overshadow the glory of winning. Either way, football fans across the state will have their eyes glued to their TVs Friday night.


Kris Mason is a senior psychology and economics double major at Virginia Commonwealth University. He also is a staff writer for VCU's student paper, The Commonwealth Times.

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