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Local Poll Week XVI: American Splendor

(Photo by Ethan Hyman - AP via The News & Observer; logo and editing by Ian Oland - Atlantic 11 Media)

So it's March. Time to start counting Atlantic 11 NCAA tournament bids. Local voter Max Wass did just that a week ago, concluding that the over-under should be 4.60. Indeed, the DMV will provide the top three seeds in the Big South, three of the top four seeds in the Colonial, the top seed in the MEAC, the top and third seeds in the Patriot, and the second seed in the Northeast. With Maryland and Virginia Tech pushing for at-large bids and Georgetown not out of it....well, I don't know what. None of them are lasting past the first weekend, so I guess it doesn't really matter. In fact, I'm already feeling post-March Madness regret.

(A note on the Hoyas: If they win the last two of the regular season and two in the Big East, they're a lock, right? Arizona '08: RPI 37, SOS 2, 18 wins, 8-10 conference record. G'town '08: RPI 40, SOS 1, would have 19 wins and an 8-10 conference record. And Arizona '08 wasn't the last team in or anything.)

Anyhow, conference tournaments are here. Last year I saw three teams clinch berths in person, and it was a natural high unlike any I've experienced involving the acronym "UMBC." This year, who knows.

RPI Watch: Georgetown (40th), Maryland (52nd), George Mason (56th), Virginia Tech (59th), VCU (65th), American (76th), Old Dominion (105th). Our three ranked Big South teams have RPIs of 133rd, 143rd and 144th.

Rankings and pith follow. This week's discussion question: By ranking American ahead of Virginia Tech and Georgetown, are we saying 1) We believe AU would win head-to-head on a neutral court, 2) We believe AU is equally capable of losing to ranked teams at home, 3) We believe Georgetown and Virginia Tech have disappointed and AU has shined to a degree that must be recognized, or 4) We've followed the unavoidable logic of poll voting.

1. Maryland (18-10) 551 (39)
--Next: Tuesday vs. Wake Forest, Saturday at Virginia.
--I wonder if Greivis Vasquez taunts his professor when he hands in a final exam. (John Albers)

2. VCU (21-9) 505 (11)
--Next: CAA quarterfinal Saturday vs. Georgia State-Delaware winner.
--The Rams victory over Georgia State was also senior day for Eric Maynor, coincidentally falling on the same day he became eligible to collect social security. (John Albers)

3. American (21-7) 405 (8)
--Next: Patriot League quarterfinal Wednesday vs. Lafayette.
--The area's best hope for an NCAA tournament bid needed overtime to beat Lafayette. Atlantic 11 basketball, it's faaaaaaan-tastic! (Matt Bonesteel)

4. Virginia Tech (17-11) 389
--Next: Wednesday vs. North Carolina, Sunday at Florida State.
--Yes, Scheyer probably should have been called for a travel. But Tech fans should realize if you're going to plan a "White Out," the refs aren't going to be able to see most of the Blue Devil players. (Jack Lambert)

5. Georgetown (15-12) 348 (3)
--Next: Tuesday at St. John's, Saturday vs. DePaul.
--DaJuan Summers announced that he will not declare for the NBA draft this year. In an equally logical announcement, neither will I. (Markus Videnieks)

6. George Mason (20-9) 347
--Next: CAA quarterfinal Saturday vs. James Madison-William & Mary winner.
--Beat Towson on Saturday, which got me thinking: After leaving a cushy job at Florida State and being a colossal failure during his last three coaching positions, where will Pat Kennedy end up next? (Devin Perry)

7. Old Dominion (20-9) 278
--Next: CAA quarterfinal Saturday vs. Hofstra-UNCW winner.
--Jonathan Adams hit a pair of free throws in overtime to give the Monarchs the victory at Northeastern and then dumped some tea into the Boston Harbor. (Sean McLernon)

8. VMI (22-7) 148
--Next: Big South quarterfinal Tuesday vs. Coastal Carolina.
--The Holmes brothers are by far the most frightening twins to opponents since 'The Shining.' (Christopher Ring)

9. Morgan State (19-11) 119
--Next: Thursday at Coppin State.
--Coming soon to an SEC school near you: the Todd Bozeman era!!! (Chris Bocquet)

10. Radford (18-11) 83
--Next: Big South quarterfinal Tuesday vs. High Point.
--There's a joke about the Highlanders winning the Big South regular season title and taking on High Point in there somewhere, but I think I need Michael Phelps to help me find it. (Jamie Paquette)

11. Liberty (21-10) 53
--Next: Big South quarterfinal Tuesday vs. Gardner-Webb.
--Did you know there are other players on Liberty other than Seth Curry? It's true! I learned it from a Snapple bottle cap. (Max Wasserman)

Also receiving votes: Virginia 30, Navy 28, Mount St. Mary's 24, James Madison 9, George Washington 8, Richmond 4, Hampton 3, Norfolk State 3, Coppin State 2, Howard 1, William & Mary 1.

By Dan Steinberg  |  March 2, 2009; 5:36 PM ET
Categories:  Atlantic 11 , College Basketball  
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Next: Eric Maynor Has a Touch O' Portis


it's gotta be #4. i'm going to email the new ombudsman!

Posted by: olsonchr | March 2, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

He'll just deflect the bad facts and take up for his reporter, olsonchr.

Posted by: sitruc | March 2, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

i blame my votes this week on information i received from Debbie Yow

Posted by: olsonchr | March 2, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

The continued relegation of Georgetown to the middle of the pack in this poll - behind teams that they beat handily - is a shamockery of the highest order. American, really? You understand that they would go 1-17 in the big east only with some luck, right? I'm a mid-major lover but I am not blind.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | March 3, 2009 12:20 AM | Report abuse

Congrats to Matt Bonesteel for making it through his pith without any terrible Patrick Stevens jokes.

Posted by: harrisongoodman | March 3, 2009 12:54 AM | Report abuse

I am standing by my vote for AU based on criteria 1 through 4. My vote is in recognition that AU, unlike the other teams, has found ways to win (even if it's ugly) down the stretch. They've won 16 out of the last 17, and though they got blown out by Gtown and Maryland, this is a team that improves as the season goes on. Same thing last year when they went 10-1 down the stretch to clinch the league.

Posted by: elcartero | March 3, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

those weren't criteria - they were Dan asking what was the reason that people were voting inferior teams ahead of teams that decimated them. i think you're firmly in the category of #3. which is fine, and i agree that the Hoyas have been a disappointment, though they did just win at Villanova. but if the poll is meant to rank the teams in the area based on who is better (and it's either that or a way to give voters an outlet for their axe grinding) then i'm just not sure how you can think that American is better than Georgetown, even if they have been winning a lot.

then again, American did get 1 vote in the most recent AP poll (Feinstein!) while Georgetown got 0.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | March 3, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

VCU is better than Maryland

Posted by: alexpaone758 | March 3, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

I always try to vote with Criteria 1 in mind.

Would Team A beat Team B on a neutral court more than 50% of the time. That doesn't mean that I don't think American would beat every other poll team in the first round of the NCAA's at some crappy west coast regional. However, on an average day, 7 times out of 10, Maryland beats American, again and again.

That, and I refuse to vote a team with an adjective as a name in the top 3.

Posted by: JJones-CapitalWeatherGang | March 3, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Even the Bogmaster can't possibly think the Hoyas deserve a spot at the dance now. Their season is fiNITo.

Posted by: mgv4232 | March 3, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

5) We believe AU can defeat St. John's.

Posted by: evwill | March 3, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Yeah the hoyas are done and have made me look foolish in the process. Coupled with marylands loss, I go back to taking the under on the 2.5 area teams who make the dance. Good night for the locals in the Big South, though.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | March 4, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

Wednesday night games at AU are always interesting - more students in suits coming from internships than people in blue.

Posted by: elcartero | March 4, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

In the spirit of Wimpy - "I would gladly vote American today, over a Hoya or Terp of yesterday"
Because it really doesn't matter what you do in December.

Posted by: Hoops44 | March 6, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

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