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Local Hoops Poll Week Seven

I tried to cancel this week's Poll. Really, I wanted all our hard-working voters to have a week off, not to be forced, as one voter was, to compose 11 local college basketball haikus.

But then, as you might recall, Maryland lost to American. At home. Convincingly. Gack. When something like that happens, the one piece of information any fan really wants to know is: Are the Terps no longer one of the 11 most highly rated Division I programs in the tri-state-and-District area, according to five dozen or so random Internet users and media types?

The answer? They are. Just barely. Maryland ranks one spot below Morgan State, a team the Terps beat by like 200. But at least Morgan State managed to beat American at home.

Georgetown's loss cost the Hoyas several first-place votes, although they're still comfortably on top. Virginia, VCU and Mason also remain in place. James Madison moves up to No. 5, and UMBC jumps to No. 6. Hampton falls out, and American is rewarded with a huge jump to No. 9 and a matchup with No. 1 this Saturday. Another win, and I'm dropping the Redskins for the Eagles.

The AP ranks 'em like this: Georgetown (8th). Virginia gets nine votes, and American gets one, which is beyond absurd for a 7-5 team that lost to Fairfield at home. The coaches rank 'em like this: Georgetown (8th). No one else received votes. It's still quite early to use this word, but there are no Local teams in the Top 30 of RPI. The RPI's Top 7 would go like this: George Mason (34th), Virginia (56th), UMBC (70th), Georgetown (74th), James Madison (76th), VCU (77th), Hampton (81st). Maryland is 172nd.

Results, pith and the best college basketball haikus you've ever read, after the jump. One voter declined to record a first-place vote, which explains the weird math. More haikus will follow in comments.

1. Georgetown (8-1) 562 (51)--Saturday vs. No. 9 American.
Losing on the road to a team that is actually good is better than losing at home to a team that actually isn't. (J. Tannenwald)

2. Virginia (9-2) 497 (5)--Sunday vs. Hartford.
To the untrained eye, home wins over Elon and Hampton don't seem very impressive. But trust me, Gary Williams is very impressed. (Eric Swensen)

3. VCU (8-3) 410--Off.
All of a sudden, that win at Maryland three weeks ago doesn't look so special. (Glenn Arnold)

4. George Mason (8-3) 387--Sunday vs. unranked Liberty.
--Patriots' AD office received an anonymous phone call this week asking if they might be interested in hiring a "sweaty, foul-mouthed basketball coach" who could "be there in about 40 minutes, depending on traffic." (Jamie Paquette)

5. James Madison (7-2) 276--Saturday at South Carolina State.
Dukes played Seton Hall a little tougher than Virginia did - and a lot tougher than Maryland would have. (Scott Allen)

6. UMBC (8-4) 243--Saturday at Ohio State.
I was walking through White Flint Mall and heard a little boy screaming at his dad "I don't want a Terrapins jersey for Christmas, I want a Retrievers jersey". I have the video on my phone. (Cole Wilson)

7. Old Dominion (6-6) 161--Saturday at UAB.
Despite losing to two middling teams this week, ODU didn't even come close to having the worst week of any area team. (Markus Videnieks)

8. Virginia Tech (6-5) 156--Friday at Hofstra.
Inconsistent play
Cannot win outside Cassell
ACC basement (Bill Fitzgerald)

9. American (7-5) 135--Saturday at No. 1 Georgetown.
Never thought I'd see the day when the "Papa John's Deal Or No Deal" would be the highlight of a Terps game. (Max Wass)

10. Morgan State (6-4) 88--Friday at Niagara.
That loss to Maryland two weeks ago is really going to hurt them in the polls. (Jon Lauder)

11. Maryland (6-6) 83--Friday vs. Delaware.
Three straight at Comcast
Nobody helping Vasquez
Hokies' cellarmates (Bill Fitzgerald)

Also receiving votes: Hampton 28, George Washington 22, VMI 16, Mount St. Mary's 12, Richmond 10, Howard 4, Loyola 3, Coppin State 2, Liberty 2, Navy 2, Todd Collins 1, Greivis Vasquez 1, Gary Williams's tears 1.

By Dan Steinberg  |  December 26, 2007; 4:37 PM ET
Categories:  College Basketball  
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Whoever dropped that one vote on AU in the AP is like the guy that keeps voting for Vasquez's hair in the local poll.

Prediction: AU by 5 over Gtown.

Posted by: matt b | December 26, 2007 5:53 PM | Report abuse

I can't stand the fact that my friends from American think they are superior to MD teams. Please American, take this as a once-in-a-lifetime gift from Bambale Osby.

Posted by: JDP | December 26, 2007 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Osby and Vasquez are impressed with AU's commitment to diversity and zone defense.

Posted by: | December 26, 2007 6:52 PM | Report abuse

who voted American into the AP poll? why the Post's own John Feinstein, of course. at least that's what Garry Parrish over at CBS Sportsline says:

(see entry from 12/14 at 4:57pm)

Steinberg, this has all the makings of a big investigative piece for the Bog. Feinstein didn't admit to anything in his gush piece from the other day, but perhaps you could ask him to justify his vote. if one of your voters pulled something like that, i'm sure they'd be getting a stern e-mail at the least.

Posted by: jamie | December 26, 2007 7:06 PM | Report abuse

It was tremendously hard to come up with a succinct, pithy way to express my schaedenGary. Thank you, editors.

Posted by: MDT | December 26, 2007 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Can the UDC Firebirds get some love? I know this poll is D1 and they're D2, but they ARE 6-2 on the season. AND they're local.

Posted by: iceberg | December 26, 2007 9:41 PM | Report abuse

George Mason
James Madison
Virginia Tech
Morgan State

Posted by: littles | December 27, 2007 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Maryland did beat Illinois. They play to the level of their competition.

Posted by: JDP | December 27, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

"Mr. Williams, the police are on the other line. They want to talk with you about an apparent identify theft. Should I reschedule your 2:30pm meeting with Matt Doherty?"

Posted by: laz | December 27, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Maryland did beat Illinois. They play to the level of their competition.

Posted by: JDP | December 27, 2007 10:35 AM

Yep - Illinois aren't very good as well

Posted by: Kev | December 27, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Yep - Illinois aren't very good as well

Posted by: Kev | December 27, 2007 11:11 AM

Dear Kev,
Just because Illinois ends in an "s" doesn't make it a plural. Do they teach English at American, or did you pay all that money just for the cushy digs up at Tenleytown?


Posted by: Sterling Ledbetter | December 27, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

There's only one way Maryland can save face now: If American wins at Georgetown this Saturday. Then American will be hailed far and wide as a giant-killer, and news stories about their victory over the Hoyas will include the statement "they also beat Maryland" as an afterthought.

Go Eagles! (pause to swallow bile that suddenly erupted from my digestive tract) You can do it!

Posted by: Lindemann | December 27, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

The Terps are an embarrassment, and are quickly becoming irrelevant locally amongst recruits. Needless to say they never had the cache nationally as a true "big time" program. GW made this bed with lack of academic control and poor graduation rates, coupled with his disinterest in he should sleep well knowing Terps bball is a total dumpster fire. Oh well lets go UMBC!, lets go Loyola! least they play with passion. PATHETIC!!.

Posted by: Aaron M. | December 27, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Gary Williams and his team did win a national championship. Do you remember that? It wasn't really that long ago - it happened way more recently than the last national championship of any team in the A-11. That championship was pretty awesome. In fact, I'm still happy about it, even when I have to watch games like the American game.

Posted by: Lindemann | December 27, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I'd agree. The national championship partially makes up for the pathetic play now. Still, I'd like to see some quality games now too.

And Illinois isn't that bad this year.

Posted by: JDP | December 27, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

The Terps are an embarrassment, and are quickly becoming irrelevant locally amongst recruits.
Posted by: Aaron M. | December 27, 2007 12:42 PM

Right, a bad season start and they're an embarrassment? I'm a Georgetown fan so I'm supposed to hate Maryland, but there's really no comparison with American. It's a small school with a decent program; this month's St. Joe's. Maryland is a deeper, more athletic and better coached team. I'm going to go wash my mouth out with soap now.

Posted by: jmc | December 28, 2007 8:27 AM | Report abuse

American wishes it was St. Joe's. The Hawks made an Elite 8 back in 2004 after going 27-1. American is more like this month's Gardner-Webb - a decent sub-mid-major who caught a "program" school in a down year. it would be interesting to see Maryland play Kentucky to see which one has more rebuilding to do. at least Kentucky can use the new coach excuse.

Posted by: jamie | December 28, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Get used to these so called major programs (Maryland, Kentucky, etc.) losing to smaller schools. The days of domination are over. They get beat on their own floor now. There is nowhere to hide now chumps!

Posted by: PoorMansProphet | December 28, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Disclaimer: I didn't watch the AU-Maryland game, so I'm relying on the boxscore and second hand info from fans of both schools. Also, I went to AU.

Maryland apologists need to stop pretending that just because the Terps are having a down year somehow diminishes American's accomplishment. They still came together and won against a team that is bigger, stronger, faster, and more talented than they are. On the road.

It should be noted, also, that American won this game without the kind of unusually good shooting day that usually accompanies mid-major wins over power conference schools. The Eagles shot a good percentage from three, but only marginally better than the Terps, and Maryland actually hit two more triples on the day. AU won by outrebounding their opponents and converting at the free throw line.

This wasn't a mid-major beating a high-major by playing mid-major basketball. This was a mid-to-low-major beating a high-major by playing high-major basketball.

Posted by: Hayden Alfano | December 28, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Old Dominion

Posted by: jhuenn | January 4, 2008 12:29 AM | Report abuse

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