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Local Poll Week XIV: Now What?

Struggle on top. (Photo by John McDonnell - TWP. Logo and editing by Ian Oland - A11 media.)

A fourth straight change at the top? Not so fast, rocket scientist.

A week after proclaiming that the weirdest week in Atlantic 11 history, I have a revision. This is the weirdest week. In what I believe to be an Atlantic 11 first, one team gained the most first-place nods (Maryland) while another had the highest overall score (Virginia Tech). Overall, seven different teams received first-place votes. This is democranarchy.

While the votes at the top were excruciatingly close, the votes at the bottom were even closer. Like, I felt physical pain in my limbs, that's how excruciating it was. A total of four points separated the 10th, 11th and 12th teams. That's the difference between one voter's office being open or closed on President's Day.

Oh, and making things even more painful, Richmond, George Washington, Towson and William & Mary each got at least four votes, totals which could have dramatically swung the rankings if used correctly. Like, my ear drums are aching. I swear, democracy is sooooo overrated. (I did delete one ridiculous entry, but didn't have time to hunt out the others.)

RPI Watch: Georgetown (37th), Virginia Tech (49th), George Mason (57th), Maryland (61st), VCU (67th), American (80th), Virginia (90th). VMI languishes at 140th.

Rankings and pith follow. And with this much controversy, can we please get a spirited debate over who's No. 1 in the comments? Clearly there are at least seven different opinions out there.

1. Virginia Tech (16-7) 461 (12)
--Next: Wednesday at Virginia, Saturday vs. Florida State.
--Malcolm Delaney just moved up to fourth place on the website, passing McDowell and trailing Jamal Warner, in the Middle, and X. (Bill Fitzgerald)

2. Maryland (16-8) 439 (20)
--Next: Tuesday at Clemson, Saturday vs. North Carolina.
--The last time Gary was so pumped up by a three-part series was on 16, 17, and 18 at Congressional. (Markus Videnieks)

3. VCU (18-8) 424 (8)
--Next: Wednesday vs. Delaware, Friday at Nevada.
--Can the Atlantic 11 petition Congress for part of the stimulus money to come up with new Eric Maynor pith? (Jack Lambert)

4. George Mason (17-8) 335 (2)
--Next: Wednesday vs. Drexel, Saturday at Creighton.
--Resorting to desperate measures because of recent struggles on the road, the Patriots all put on ruby red sneakers, tapped them together and chanted: "There's no place like home" before last week's game at Delaware. (Sean McLernon)

5. VMI (20-5) 316 (3)
--Next: Tonight at Presbyterian, Saturday vs. Radford.
--The East played more defense in Sunday's NBA All-Star Game than VMI typically does. (Scott Allen)

6. Georgetown (13-10) 292 (6)
--Next: Wednesday at South Florida, Saturday vs. Marquette.
--Should be an interesting race to see what gets to .500 first: the Hoyas' record or the Dow Jones Industrial Average. (Chris Chase)

7. American (17-7) 284 (6)
--Next: Wednesday at Army, Saturday vs. Holy Cross.
--American's RPI suffers for having to play so many Patriot League games. Next year they're going to combat this by scheduling a home and home with the Division II champions. (B. Sopchak)

8. Old Dominion (16-9) 169
--Next: Wednesday at UNC Wilmington, Saturday vs. No. 9 Liberty.
--I wonder who has more fans, ODU or the Sacramento Monarchs? (Michael Palan)

9. Liberty (19-8) 115
--Next: Tonight at Coastal Carolina, Saturday at No. 8 Old Dominion.
--A Flame war broke out during practice recently over an argument about whose jump shot was the most pious. (Jamie Paquette)

10. Mount St. Mary's (16-10) 58
--Next: Thursday at Wagner, Saturday vs. St. Francis (Pa.).
--Hotter than Gary Williams's collar. (John Albers)

11. Morgan State (15-10) 56
--Next: Tonight vs. Bethune-Cookman, Wednesday at Howard, Saturday at Towson.
--Latest comment on Blogging with Boze: "hey coach, how'd u get ur team 2 play so well on the road?" from jlrrngpatriotcoach1. (Bill Fitzgerald)

Also receiving votes: Radford 54, James Madison 41, Navy 39, Virginia 30, Richmond 6, George Washington 5, Towson 4, William & Mary 4.

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 16, 2009; 3:29 PM ET
Categories:  Atlantic 11 , College Basketball  
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What else do the terps have to do to be ranked ahead of Tech? Beat them head to head? Oh wait...thats right they did that! If Vtech loses to the Cavaliers its gotta be it finally, even if MD loses to Clemson. Or are we really going to have the silliness of VCU in the top spot again

Posted by: JDP_ | February 16, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

No one backs baby into a corner. Nobody. That includes WaPo. Why couldn't you guys have released that three-part series before the Georgetown game?

Posted by: mrhoffman17 | February 16, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

What's the geographical breakdown of A-11 voters?

Is it possible that I can be the outlier by casting constant votes for Maryland from Alabama?

And finally, what is Parrish Brown's opinion of the new recruits? Gini?

Posted by: Colm1 | February 16, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Addendum: I am not actually a voter, but I like to pretend I am in my head during late night Bracketology sessions on my couch and/or staring at the fish tank.

Posted by: Colm1 | February 16, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

The only thing Maryland should rank No. 1 in is apathetic recruiting.

Posted by: PlayerHatersBall | February 16, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Georgetown at #6? Come on people, another 6 inches on Summers' jumper at the end of that game and they'd be #1 again this week. Despite losing 2309432423 games in a row they still are the best team in the area.

Va Tech is the only team in this poll that would give them any sort of challenge. How quickly we have forgotten their UMD beatdown.

Posted by: olsonchr | February 16, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

How is Georgetown ranked?

Posted by: StetSportsBlog | February 16, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

I have to agree with you, Olsonchr. It's never been clear to me exactly what these rankings are measuring. Georgetown would be a double digit favorite against every other team in the A-11 on a neutral court. Virginia languishes in 15th but there is no way the teams ranked 5th or 7th through 14th could ever beat Clemson. I'm pretty sure if we did ranked these teams Vegas style the Cavs would be sixth, and maybe as high as fourth.

Interestingly those two teams (Georgetown and Virginia) have played the two hardest schedules in the country according to the RPI SOS metric.

I wonder what the line will be in the UVA/VA Tech game on Wednesday. The first game in Blacksburg was basically a one possession game. This one is in Charlottesville and Jeff Allen is suspended. We may be looking at further chaos after Wednesday night.

Posted by: ZachMorris | February 16, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

In response to the latest A-11 poll, is now promoting a three-part expose of Bog recruiting missteps.

In all seriousness, my own votes aren't based on theoretical point spreads. I look this late at which teams are actually producing tangible results, not which teams could produce such results in theory.

While Georgetown is not about to fall to #6 on my ballot, its almost complete failure to actually win games in recent weeks can't go unpenalized.

Those six inches between winning and losing do matter. They have to matter or else competitive sports as we know them become meaningless.

Posted by: evwill | February 16, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

@evwill I like your willingness to channel Pacino (, but you're missing my point. Should Georgetown fall this week because they lost their only game by six inches. on the road. to a rival. in front of 31,000? Meanwhile Mason should be rewarded for splitting their games this week between two meh schools?

Of course had that shot gone in more people would have voted Georgetown #1. I'm no Georgetown fan, but I think they're the best team in the area.

Of course this is why I love to vote and why arguments like this are fun. If people want to "punish" Georgetown for their losing streak that's fine, I just don't use that as my only metric.

Posted by: olsonchr | February 16, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

And Harvard could never beat Boston College, and don't make me bring up Chaminade. If Georgetown had won just half of its games in the last month, the Hoyas would be undisputed #1. And if VMI had a few more DI wins, I'd have them in my Top 5. But the Terps earned my top spot and AU moves past GTown because they keep winning. The CAA schools are starting to cancel each other out.

Posted by: fitzfacts | February 16, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

That's fair. You play to win the game.

As as interesting intellectually question, where would you rank the Wizards if they were eligible for this poll?

Posted by: ZachMorris | February 16, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Terps fans can whine about VCU having been ranked #1 before all they want, but the fact is not only are they not as good as VCU, they'd get beat in Fairfax too. That might get ugly. Georgetown, VT, GMU and VCU all are better than the turtles, and I'd give VMI at least a shot, particularly down in Lexington. In terms of what they've achieved, the rankings should be VT, VCU, GMU, GU, VMI and then MD, barely ahead of American.

Posted by: Meanstreak2 | February 17, 2009 12:59 AM | Report abuse

Bottom line is if you lose you drop in my rankings. And being 3 games above .500 makes you worse then 20-5.

Posted by: MDG26 | February 17, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

It's not "who's number one" so much as it's "who's not number six"

Posted by: Kev29 | February 17, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I love the losers in Farifax County that cling to Mason as this basketball powerhouse. You went on one fluke run, get over it. You have a great coach, and he made a big error in not leaving Commuter U to go to the ACC when NC State offered. There is no Mason Nation, just a bunch of people who couldn't get into UVA, V Tech, or JMU sitting in 66 traffic trying to validate their lives.

Poll should read Hoyas, Terps, Hokies, VCU. Steinberg you are a genius.

Posted by: jpfterps | February 17, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

wow, attacking Mason fans, that's awesome. who says College Park is feeling insecure right now?

anyway, as a voter i had no choice but to put Georgetown #1 this week. everyone else has lost, in most cases to some pretty bad teams. i know that recent performance should weigh more heavily, but not that much. does anyone really think VMI is better than Georgetown? it's one thing to reward winning and another to just lose all perspective. i am feeling vindicated for leaving VMI off my poll altogether after their loss to the Blue Hose last night. all 20-5 records are not created equal.

and can we just lump all the CAA teams into one spot in the poll (i.e. #5 VCU/GMU/JMU/ODU)? who can differentiate among their performance at this point anyway?

and how about some more love for Radford and Mt. St. Mary's? they're about the only local teams playing well recently with streak of 12-1 and 11-1 respectively. and yes if Virginia starts throwing some Ws around they will have to get consideration, too.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | February 17, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Poll should show more love for the First place Radford Highlanders, they are 12-1 and 2 games ahead of so called offensive juggernaut VMI. Who by the way had 15 pts at half time yesterday and are losers of 2 straight. GO RU!!!!

Posted by: SkinsOsHokies | February 17, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

AU also 12-1, dimes. Radford is right on the cusp, but three of its 16 wins are non D-1. UVa has to get back to .500.

Posted by: fitzfacts | February 17, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I'm sure Mason feels honored that some Twerp fan took time out from drinking and setting dorm furniture on fire to belittle them. When your program has to cheat to keep Jin Soo Kim eligible (kid needed the athletic dept to pressure the ESOL teachers.. he failed BOTH ESOL classes. How do you manage that?) you know you have problems. Nice job getting caned at Clemson tonight. Maryland sucks.

Posted by: Meanstreak2 | February 18, 2009 12:12 AM | Report abuse

My criterion this week was "If you lead your conference, you get big points". Which is to say, mine might have been the ridiculous ballot Dan deleted.

Posted by: eangevine | February 18, 2009 7:25 AM | Report abuse

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