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Local Poll Week XV: Turtles Have an Entourage

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

Two weeks after this newspaper dissected the state of Maryland basketball, Terps boosters can fairly ask "Who's sweating now?" In a turnaround with more baffling than a College Park traffic circle, the Maryland Terrapins have risen past the mighty basketball programs of the Mid-Atlantic region to seize an honor greater than any ever imagined during the days of 40-point losses.

Hey, it's at least as exciting as an NIT bid, right?

In more news of the weird, there are three ranked Big South team, meaning one more than the number of ranked ACC teams. And two schools have the honor of being ranked in every spot between one and 10 on at least one ballot: Georgetown and American.

My over-under on A11 tournament teams is 2.5, and I'd be inclined to take the over, but clearly the travel budget isn't sending me to Boise to watch Morgan State enjoy Idaho in March.

RPI Watch: Georgetown (45th), Maryland (52nd), George Mason (54th), Virginia Tech (66th), VCU (71st), American (80th), Virginia (100th). Our three ranked Big South teams have RPIs of 133, 160 and 165.

Rankings and pith follow. No controversy this week, but feel to post all remarks about how terrible D.C. basketball is nowadays. That, or sweat jokes.

1. Maryland (17-9) 595 (51)
--Next: Wednesday vs. Duke, Sunday at N.C. State.
--If you count jersey pops, Greivis Vasquez actually finished with the first quadruple-double in Maryland history. (Scott Allen)

2. VCU (19-9) 447 (4)
--Next: Wednesday at James Madison, Saturday vs. Georgia State.
--You would figure that visiting any city would be a nice break from Richmond, unless you land in Reno, home of the sesquicentennial beard contest. (Devin Perry)

3. Virginia Tech (16-10) 394
--Next: Wednesday at Clemson, Saturday vs. Duke.
--T-minus three weeks until Seth Greenberg's annual whine about how tough it is to play in a conference with powerhouses like UVA and Florida State. (Christopher Ring)

4. American (19-7) 389 (5)
--Next: Wednesday vs. Navy, Saturday at Lafayette.
--The Eagles lead their conference in field-goal percentage and 3-point percentage. I don't know about you, but when I think 'efficient,' I don't think 'American.' (John Albers)

5. George Mason (18-9) 371
--Next: Wednesday at UNC Wilmington, Saturday vs. Towson.
--Seeing how The Post's investigative reporting on Maryland turned out for them, I look forward to the next series, "What's Wrong with GMU: Is it Gunston?" (Jamie Jones)

6. Georgetown (14-11) 291 (2)
--Next: Tonight vs. Louisville, Saturday at Villanova.
--Maryland is playing great and the Hoyas can't beat anyone good. Who else is enjoying the return of the Craig Esherick era? (Markus Videnieks)

7. Old Dominion (18-9) 272
--Next: Wednesday vs. William & Mary, Saturday at Northeastern.
-- Old Dominion stomps Liberty in a way that can best be appreciated by early 19th Century European historians. (Bill Fitzgerald)

8. VMI (20-7) 151
--Next: Tuesday at No. 11 Liberty, Saturday at High Point.
--With a huge showdown against Liberty looming, VMI desperately needs separation between State and Church. (Adam Anthony)

9. Morgan State (18-10) 124
--Next: Tonight at Hampton, Saturday vs. Delaware State.
--Todd Bozeman conspicuously absent from Baltimore's Restaurant week. (John Albers)

10. Radford (17-10) 105
--Next: Wednesday vs. High Point, Saturday vs. No. 11 Liberty.
--Man, I remember when Big South preeminence used to mean something in this poll! (Bill Fitzgerald)

11. Liberty (20-9) 71
--Next: Tuesday vs. No. 8 VMI, Saturday at No. 10 Radford.
--Since the Flames were pounded by ODU over the weekend, I think it's safe to start referring to the Big South as CAA Lite. (Sean McLernon)

Also receiving votes: Mount St. Mary's 58, Virginia 57, Navy 25, James Madison 22, Richmond 13, Coppin State 5, Norfolk State 1, William & Mary 1.

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 23, 2009; 5:03 PM ET
Categories:  Atlantic 11 , College Basketball  
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Nice comment Chris Ring. The ACC really is an overrated conference with Duke, UNC, Wake, Clemson. Keep taking shots at Greenberg, and you will keep looking stupid.

Posted by: bbcat2 | February 23, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

American getting some much deserved respect.

I like it.

Posted by: | February 23, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

My fellow voters, please do not place VMI ahead of Radford. VMI, losers of 3 straight and fresh off a home loss to the Big South Reg. Season champs Radford Highlanders should not be in the top 11 at all. Well, maybe 11th.

Nice to see RU getting some much deserved pub.

Posted by: SkinsOsHokies | February 23, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Nice comment Chris Ring. The ACC really is an overrated conference with Duke, UNC, Wake, Clemson. Keep taking shots at Greenberg, and you will keep looking stupid.

Posted by: bbcat2 | February 23, 2009 5:15 PM

Good point - teams that lose to UVA by double digits do deserve respect. I guess I would be bitter too if my school's most famous "alumnus" didn't even graduate but should be out of Leavenworth in time for training camp.

Posted by: ringer1 | February 23, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

c'mon poll voters - i am no Hoya fan but they beat Maryland by 20 and American by 24. i know they keep losing, but they would be favored over every other team in the area. i missed voting today, but i doubt my ranking would have made up the 80 point gap between them and Mason (who just lost by 13 to Creighton - do you think Georgetown would lose to Creighton at all, let alone by double digits?).

OK, rant over. 1 week left in the regular season for some teams. conference tourneys start March 3rd. bring on the Madness.

Steinz - i'll take the under. i still think Radford ends up being the only local team in the tourney. and maybe American.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | February 23, 2009 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Taking the under for 2.5 local teams in the tournament is one of the worst bets I've seen. Here's why:

Big South: Top 3 teams are local, pretty much 1 bid guaranteed, but I'll say 95% chance.

Patriot: American will likely win the regular season, meaning they get to play all their tournament games at home. Navy also has a good shot with a 3 seed as of now. Overall, i'd say an 80% chance at a local team.

CAA: Four of the top seven and two of the top three teams are local. Plus, the tournament is held in Richmond. There's still a lot that can happen, I'll put the odds of a bid at 60%.

Northeast: Mount St. Mary's will play all their tournament games except the final at home. I give their chance at winning the tournament at 25%

MEAC: Morgan State is far ahead in first. I'd be shocked if they didn't win the MEAC tournament after falling just short last year. And if they do, Coppin State is third. Chance of local bid is 90%

Maryland: Most new bracket projections have the Terps as the last team in. Considering the very soft bubble this year, I'd think their odds might be better than 50/50, but to be cautious, I'll just say 50%

Virginia Tech: Almost no new bracket projections have them in, but there's always a chance in the tournament. 30%

Georgetown: Same as Tech, 30%

Adding up all the percentages gives an expected value of 4.60 for the number of local teams making the tournament. Anyone still want to take the under on the 2.5?

Posted by: MaxWass | February 24, 2009 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Ring's more egregious gaffe re: VT was his dismissal of FSU. While not a prestigious program from a historical perspective, they are currently in the top 25 and have an RPI of ~18 last time I checked. It was still a close game that came down to the last shot.

I'll agree that the UVA loss was bad (even disregardign the fact that Jeff Allen did not play), but the FSU comment just made him look uninformed. The UMD loss was worse as far as "embarassing VT losses" go.

Posted by: VTDuffman | February 24, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

How come no talk of the first new #1 to actually lose a game by 29 in the voting week and claim the top spot?

Just kidding Terp fans.

Posted by: Kev29 | February 24, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Steinberg did you want sweat jokes or sweet jokes? Requesting sweat jokes seems kinda creepy, although I'll admit Patrick Ewing (Sr.) and Gary Williams have been providing the area sweaty material for decades.

Posted by: DC3some | February 24, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Insult my friends, insult my country, even insult my mother - but never insult my pith!

Are you guys seriously arguing the validity and credibilty of some one-liner I wrote while half-asleep at my desk Monday morning? And "egregious gaffe" - who are you trying to impress Duffman? The blogging community? Well done, sir!

Posted by: ringer1 | February 24, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

You're still counting ballots with Georgetown ranked number 1?

Now THAT'S baffling.

Posted by: StetSportsBlog | February 24, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse


Some of your math is a little baffling. 90% in the MEAC? 3 of the top 5 teams are not from the area and Morgan St. just lost (again) to Hampton. I think 60% would be better.

30% for Va. Tech? Does that mean you think they have a 30% chance of winning the ACC tourney? I'll take that bet. Same goes for Georgetown. I think Maryland loses 3 of their remaining 4 and plays themselves right back out, meaning that 50% deflates quickly.

You're probably right that I underestimated the chances of area teams as a whole, but i would say the expected value would be much closer to 2.5 than 4.5.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | February 24, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I'd love to see American v. Georgetown now. Eagles may not win, but the outcome would be close either way and would show how good American is and how good a coach Jeff Jones is. Playing the best ball at the right time is what college hoops is all about.

Posted by: Hoops44 | February 25, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

So can Georgetown be number one this week?

Posted by: njhoya06 | March 1, 2009 12:36 AM | Report abuse

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