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Posted at 8:15 AM ET, 01/24/2011

Where do Maryland, Georgetown, Virginia Tech and George Mason stand?

By Eric Prisbell

Let's take a look at the four local teams - George Mason included - with the best chances of earning at-large NCAA tournament berths. (Only games against division I teams included.)

Record: 12-7, 2-3 ACC
RPI: 76
SOS: 44
Vs. top 50: 1-6
Best win: Penn State (RPI: 49)
Worst loss: Virginia Tech (62)
Road-neutral court: 2-5
As of today: on the fringes of the bubble
Comment: The second-favorite team of Maryland fans needs to be Penn State. The better Penn State does, the better that early season victory looks for the Terrapins. After this weekend, the Nittany Lions inched into the RPI's top 50, giving the Terps their first top 50 win. Maryland also survived a tough game against Clemson to improve its record against top 100 teams to 3-7. Maryland's challenge is two-fold: Avoid losses against the RPI-sinking bottom of the ACC and earn a few more top 50 victories even though opportunities against those quality teams are few. Maryland plays only four more games against top 50 teams. The immediate challenge: beat Virginia (123) and Georgia Tech (152) on the road and get a winning streak going before the rematch against Duke.

Record: 14-5, 3-4 Big East
RPI: 8
SOS: 4
Vs. top 50: 4-5
Best win: Missouri (29)
Worst loss: Temple (36)
Road-neutral court: 8-3
As of today: No. 5 seed
Comment: The Big East schedule is absurdly tough. Seven of the RPI's top 14 teams can be found in the Big East. And eight of Georgetown's remaining 11 games are against top 50 competition. Because of that, Georgetown has a chance to rise or fall dramatically in seeding. (They also have a chance to slide right out of the field.) The Hoyas need more wins to keep their conference record near .500. But if they get them, the victories against quality opponents could lift them to a top-four NCAA tournament seed. It could be feast or famine.

Virginia Tech
Record: 13-5, 3-2 ACC
RPI: 62
SOS: 82
Vs. top 50: 3-4
Best win: Oklahoma State (37)
Worst loss: Virginia (123)
Road-neutral court: 6-3
As of today: No. 10 seed
Comment: The Hokies are in better position than the Terrapins, especially so after handing Maryland its worst ever loss at Comcast Center. The Hokies have an impressive record against top 50 teams for a team contending for one of the final NCAA tournament at-large berths. They also have six victories away from home. VT has just three remaining games against top 50 teams: two against Boston College, one against Duke. Winning at least one would be advised. But with a loss to Virginia already on the resume, it's also important that the Hokies avoid another loss to a sub-100 team.

George Mason
Record: 14-5, 6-2 CAA
RPI: 31
SOS: 42
Vs. top 50: 1-1
Best win: Harvard (50)
Worst loss: Wofford (149)
Road-neutral court: 5-5
As of today: bubble
Comment: There is a lot of parity atop the CAA standings. The top six teams are separated by two games. The parity could cause the CAA to earn just one bid if teams continue to beat up one another. Mason has won four straight games since the Old Dominion loss, and it likely will need to beat ODU on Feb. 5. The three-point overtime loss to Wofford on Nov. 21 is the one black eye. Mason's margin for error is slim, but it is in the discussion now along with other CAA teams.

By Eric Prisbell  | January 24, 2011; 8:15 AM ET
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Next: Kansas or Connecticut --- which team has a stronger NCAA tournament resume?


Why was VCU left out of this article??

Posted by: psock1 | January 24, 2011 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Hey psock1: VCU, American, JMU/ODU, etc... were left off this report because it would take him and his interns about another 45 minutes to research and comment on those teams.

Posted by: Hoops44 | January 24, 2011 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Hey psock1:

The VCU case is not at all complicated. If they win the CAA tourney, they are in. If they don't, they are out. It's a single-bid league.

A blurb on Richmond would have been appreciated, though. They'll probably need to finish 24-7 and win a couple in the A-10 tournament to make it.

Posted by: richmondreader | January 24, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I HATE that Tech is considered "local". They have a lot of alums in the area but so do a lot of other schools.

Posted by: JRD8608 | January 24, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Maryland must win their next three games (yep, including Duke at home) or they're pretty much leaving their chances to a very strong run in the ACC Tournament. If they're 17-7 going into the massive BC and VT road games, it's a new season for them.

Posted by: Kev29 | January 24, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm. No mention of Richmond or VCU. I guess the Richmond schools are too far away. Even if the school from Blacksburg is included just because they are on the forefront of Terp fan's minds.

Posted by: abar1 | January 24, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

CAA might get multiple bids this season.
ACC play is down, as well as some of the other leagues, and the CAA has a group of tough teams at the top of the pack. If a team that is highly distinguished at the end of the season somehow doesn't win the CAA Tourney the league could get a second bid.

It's happened a couple times in recent years, and those teams have performed well in the NCAA. So it makes it more likely to happen again.

Top CAA teams:

VCU, Hofstra, George Mason, James Madison, Old Dominion

Hofstra doesn't have the best overall record, but they have been dangerous in the conference. If, say, VCU plays really well down the stretch, but loses in the tourney to a team like Hofstra the chances for a 2nd bid go way way up.

Posted by: gconrads | January 24, 2011 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Once again a school less than two hours from downtown DC is left out of the conversation despite the fact that there are tons of JMU alumni that come from and live in the DC metro area. And by the way JMU is having its best basketball season since the early Lefty left.........

Posted by: 8Ball96 | January 24, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Va Tech is not LOCAL. I'd rather read about TOWSON, JAMES MADISON, LOYOLA, NAVY, GEORGE WASHINGTON, AMERICAN... In fact I'd rather read about some DII and DIII schools that are LOCAL (Catholic, Mary Washington, Bowie State, Goucher, Bridgewater) than I would about VaTech.

Heck if Blacksburg is local there's about 6 schools in Philadelphia that we can report on as well...

Rutgers is ONLY 3.5 hours away. Shoot Seton Hall & St. John's are within 4 hours...

But hey why stop there? Penn State/Pitt and WVU should be considered...

WaPo should changed their "sports" section title to... "How can pander to the Northern Virginia crowd just a LITTLE bit more."

Posted by: IReadTheBaltimoreSunWhenIWantToReadGoodSportsWriting | January 24, 2011 12:03 PM | Report abuse

>>Md fringe of the bubble

I thought the bubble was the fringe. Is that like the fringe of the fringe?

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | January 24, 2011 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Why does the WP insist on covering Virginia Tech as if they are local?

Someone send a map to the sports desk.

Posted by: clandestinetomcat | January 24, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

And if Richmond and VCU get some coverage, why not UMBC? Or Howard? Or GW? Or West Virginia?

Posted by: vn11701 | January 24, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I guess VA Tech is considered local due the fact that they are the largest school in the State of Virginia, and last time I checked parts of Virginia were considered to be in the Washington metro area.

Posted by: bscoleman | January 24, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

"I guess VA Tech is considered local due the fact that they are the largest school in the State of Virginia, and last time I checked parts of Virginia were considered to be in the Washington metro area."

And of course, people love to complain. We could get a profile of every school listed in the comments, and somebody would still whine. Maybe it makes them feel more important, who knows. Never quite figured that out.

Posted by: RIP-21 | January 24, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

VT is looking better than UM that's insightful....

only GU should probably get in and not as a high seed. Maybe a 10 or 11.

UM and VT should not go in weakened ACC - take 7 or 8 from the big east

What about AU

Posted by: jmfaruki | January 24, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

"I guess VA Tech is considered local due the fact that they are the largest school in the State of Virginia..."

Actually both GMU and VCU are larger than Va Tech. GMU also has the largest on-campus population in the Commonwealth. VPI should not be considered local.

Posted by: clynch4 | January 24, 2011 1:26 PM | Report abuse

VPI should not be considered local.

Posted by: clynch4 | January 24, 2011 1:26 PM

Tech is considered "local" because they have a giant alumni base in Northern Virginia and DC - and the Post wants to serve those avid sports fans (a newspaper will do anything it can these days). Also, Richmond and Baltimore have big newspapers that cover the teams nearby. Virginia Tech only has the small Roanoke Times nearby, so the Post fills a void for people on the western side of VA who want Hokies coverage.

How many years will people b1t*h about this? Jeez, I'm a Maryland fan and I could care less if the newspaper wants to cover Tech.

Posted by: Kev29 | January 24, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Umm. Local = Virginia Tech?????? Virginia Tech is 270 miles from the District of Columbia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hey Washington Post, there are a lot of schools that are closer to Washington than VA Tech! Screw the alumni base theory. If alumni base was the criteria, then we would be buried in Penn State athletics.
If VA Tech is considered "local" then I should expect to see equal coverage on all schools under a 300 mile radius from Washington DC.

Posted by: Realist1 | January 24, 2011 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Hey Washington Post, there are a lot of schools that are closer to Washington than VA Tech! Screw the alumni base theory. If alumni base was the criteria, then we would be buried in Penn State athletics.

Posted by: Realist1 | January 24, 2011 2:41 PM

Penn State is not in a state that borders on the District. And has Philly and Pittsburgh as it's main city contacts. Let's turn this into a game - which schools also lie in a state bordering the District, are large, with a big alumni base in DC, in a major conference, not served by other large papers that you think are more fitting of Post coverage?

Seriously, you people act like the Post started covering them today.

Posted by: Kev29 | January 24, 2011 5:30 PM | Report abuse

68 teams is getting to caried away! Undeserving teams make it and I dont like it. Top 50!

Posted by: cmclaxton | January 24, 2011 5:32 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: cmclaxton | January 24, 2011 5:33 PM | Report abuse

The reason we don't here about the local teams like JMU,American, Navy, and such is because the only way they get into the dance is to win their conference championship. Plus with teams in CAA like JMU, VCU, and GMU, while good enough to get in, may be left if conferences like the Big East or Big 12 send more teams to the tourney (this may also be bad news for the ACC, which may send only 3 teams this year).

Posted by: ecglotfelty | January 24, 2011 8:43 PM | Report abuse

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