The Local Report: A Hoya Showdown
There are two all-Atlantic 11 matchups: Coppin State-Mount St. Mary's in Tuesday's play-in game in Dayton, and 2nd-seeded Georgetown against 15th-seeded UMBC Friday in Raleigh.
That, friends, is the Atlantic 11 showdown for the ages. Those teams are ranked 1st and 3rd, respectively, in our local poll, and have arguably had the two best seasons in our area, relative to expectations. UMBC has an incredible pep band that just added "I'm a Believer" to its set-list this weekend; the Hoyas pep band has its work cut out for it. I also have in my possession a UMBC sign poking fun of the Terps (see above), so in that regard, the Hoyas and Retrievers are united. Also, UMBC fans have several chants that involve the phrase "Big Dogs," which is going to make things mighty confusing when Jack the Bulldog wanders out. If the Hoyas make it that far, the regional final would likely be against Kansas in Detroit. I know, but at least there are casinos.
The area's second-ranked team, George Mason, gets a 12th-seed from the NCAA and a date with Notre Dame Thursday in Denver. The sentiment in WaPo HQ is that this is a great, great, great result for George Mason. If the Patriots win, it's on to the winner of Washington State-Winthrop, which is about as clear a path to the Sweet 16 as Mason Nation could possibly have hoped for. In case you're making travel plans, that regional would be in Charlotte.
After that we're left with American, which is handed a 15 seed and a meeting with Tennessee Friday in Birmingham. The fact that Tennessee is in the same region as top-overall-seed North Carolina makes it seem like the Vols are the worst of the two seeds, which I buy, but which John Feinstein says is hogwash. Tennessee might not be a great matchup for the Eagles, but I'm not sure what would have been better, although there's certainly the potential for extreme ugliness in the final score. And the weather in Alabama's supposed to be great in mid-March.
Virginia Tech is out. Beat writer Adam Kilgore has an incredible quote from A.D. Vassallo on his response. VCU's out, too. Here's to the Rams playing either Maryland or Tech in the first round of the NIT. Other teams excluded include Illinois State, Ohio State and Arizona State. Prisbell got 64 of the 65 correct. Lunardi, if I'm not mistaken, got all 65. Pop the champagne.
The Verizon Center will host Belmont, Xavier, Georgia, Purdue, Baylor, Arizona, Duke, West Virginia, Coach K and about 10,000 Mountaineers fans, which, if you're a local blogger, is the A-1 absolute best thing you could have hoped for from this region. Thank you, Tom O'Connor. West Virginia fans, tell me when you're coming and where you're staying. Also, paging the Pittsnogles.
Ok, tourney thoughts?
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