DMV Preseason College Basketball Power Rankings

USA Today Sports

DMV Preseason College Basketball Power Rankings

There are 29 Division I schools in the Mid-Atlantic area ranging from the University of Delaware in Newark to Virginia Tech down in Blacksburg.

At NBC Sports Washington, no team in the region will be left out in our power rankings throughout the 2017-18 college basketball season.

For these rankings, schools in Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware are included.

Last season five of these schools made the big dance and potentially more are primed to join the fray this year.


1. Maryland Terrapins (Big Ten):

The Melo Trimble era in College Park is finally over but that will not stop the Terrapins from having another NCAA Tournament year.

Three starters are returning after incredible freshman campaigns from Justin Jackson, Anthony Cowan Jr., and Kevin Huerter. Already we saw how talented Jackson can be on the court and is an early favorite for the Big Ten All-1st Team.

2. Virginia Cavaliers (ACC):

Remember the no-fun, low-scoring defensive minded Cavaliers from 2016? 

Not much has changed except their offense in London Perrantes is now gone.  Sure the Cavaliers will be a near-lock to make the NCAA Tournament, but with their offense consistent winning streaks are not on the horizon. Another top-to-middle of the pack season in the ACC for Virginia this year.

3. VCU Rams (A-10):

New head coach Mike Rhoades will have his hands full on his first year with the Rams.

However, VCU has never seemed to have an issue with a coaching change. He has a Preseason All-Atlantic 10 1st Teamer, Justin Tillman leading a squad that will continue with their ‘havoc’ defense. Johnny Williams will be the facilitator in the backcourt and will be more than formidable to replace JeQuan Lewis.

Additionally their post depth was reinforced with grad transfer Kris Lane from Longwood.

4. Virginia Tech Hokies (ACC):

This is a tough team to predict what will happen this year. Besides losing Zach LeDay and Seth Allen, there is a lot of experience returning for the Hokies. At the same time, they do not have a post-player that saw minutes in 2016. They shouldn’t be bad but physical teams might give them some trouble especially early on.

5. George Mason Patriots (A-10):

After years of despair, the Patriots returned to their winning ways thanks to the back of Marquise Moore in 2017.

However, with Moore departing with his double-doubles, three starters are returning for George Mason. Become familiar with 5-11 guard, Otis Livingston II who as a junior has 66 starts and averaged double figures in his freshman and sophomore years.

6. Towson Tigers (CAA):

College of Charleston is the popular pick as league champion but Towson has a senior guard duo that can match any team in the league.

Both Mike Morsell and Deshaun Morman are a great all-around package that can take over games offensively and defensively. Their schedule is deceptively decent and might just be an NCAA Tournament team when this season is all said and done.

7. Richmond Spiders (A-10):

Replacing the 2017 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year T.J. Cline is no easy task. It doesn’t make it any easier with the leading returning scorer Khwan Fore missing the first couple weeks of the season.

Richmond faces a fair amount of teams on this list throughout their season but making it back to even the NIT may be a stretch for this season.

8. UMBC Retrievers (A-East):

The America East conference could be primed for a huge year and the Golden Retrievers would be a huge part of that of that transformation. Their schedule is balanced and winnable with a line-up that saw a lot of action in 2017.

9. George Washington Colonials (A-10):

Second year head coach Maurice Joseph gets his first off-season under his belt and is looking to get this Colonial squad back into the top half of the Atlantic 10. Like all other A10 teams on this list, they did graduate their best player on the court, Tyler Cavanaugh, but are looking for senior 6-9 guard Yuta Watanabe to take his place.

10. Georgetown Hoyas (Big East):

Everyone’s favorite punching bag this past year finally gets to work with new coach Patrick Ewing.

With a cake-walk of a non-conference schedule the Hoyas should end the season with a winning record, barring they do win a couple of Big East games. Georgetown will be a big team in 2017-18 and hopefully one of the best bigs of all-time can coach them up.

11. Morgan State Bears (MEAC):

Phillip Carr could very easily lead this team to a regular season championship. Last year he was named the MEAC Defensive Player of the Year as a junior. This season he is the favorite to be the conference’s Player of the Year.

12. Hampton Pirates (MEAC):

Another team that is returning a lot of experience, Hampton has four players that started 18 or more games last season. A year ago they were extremely young and it resulted in poor shooting numbers throughout the season.

Expect that to improve and prove they are a contender in the fairly open MEAC.

13. Norfolk State Spartans (MEAC):

The two leading scorers for the Spartans, guard Zaynah Robinson and forward Alex Long, return after impressive seasons last year. Norfolk State is looking to break through and win the MEAC this season after falling short in the championship game for the second time in the past four years.

14. Old Dominion Monarchs (C-USA):

You cannot ask for a better facilitator than Ahmad Caver. The junior returns after averaging 13.0 ppg and 4.8 apg, being named to the Conference USA Preseason team. Build the team around him this season and they can make a run during his senior campaign.

15. Liberty Flames (Big South):

Success will continue with the Flames heading into this season. A year removed from their first 20-win season in nearly a decade, Liberty has the tools to continue to remain at the top of the Big South. Because of their schedule, the team will have to rely on an automatic Big South berth to get into the tournament.

16. William & Mary Tribe (CAA):

Quite honestly the Tribe could be a sleeper in the CAA. Yes they lost their two leading scorers from 2016 but Tony Shaver knows how to coach and he has one of the best young talents in the league playing for him, Nathan Knight.

Turnovers should be down this year and like always William & Mary knows how to efficiently shoot.

17. Navy Midshipmen (Patriot):

Four starters are back for the Midshipmen after a semi-final run in the Patriot League. They may not be on pace to contend with Bucknell for the conference title, but their season can go a long way in how the league will look as a whole.

18. Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers (NEC):

Twelve freshmen are new to The Mount after the squad made it to the NCAA Tournament in 2017.

Normally this would hurt a team but there are two reasons to still like the Mountaineers; 5-5 guard Junior Robinson and head coach Jamion Christian. With what both of these two accomplished last year, anything is possible.

19. Delaware Blue Hens (CAA):

Delaware fouled too much, continuously turned the ball over, and had atrocious shooting numbers in 2016-17. Bottom line they are going to need to give sophomore guard Ryan Daly some help if they are going to want to make any noise.

20. Loyola Greyhounds (Patriot):

Returning a majority of their line-up from a season ago the Greyhounds may be on track for their best season since 2012-13. Senior guard Andre Walker is coming off of a First-Team All-Patriot League performance and will even be looked at to score more.

21. James Madison Dukes (CAA):

Six freshmen, two transfers who became eligible this season, two junior college transfers, and a grad transfer highlight nine newcomers for the Dukes. That’s all you really need to know for James Madison.

22. American Eagles (Patriot):

The trend at American is having a bad season followed by a good season (and vice versa). If the trend continues it should be a good one for them in the Patriot League. There is no reason not to believe it either because of their 22 losses last year, 13 of them were by 10 points or less.

23. Radford (Big South):

Returning their leading scorer and their leading rebounder in Ed Polite Jr., the Highlanders have a lot to build on heading into a new year.

24. Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks (MEAC):

Losing go-to scorer Bakari Copeland will be a tough hole to fill in the Eagles line-up this season. UMES believes they can now become a contender after a surprise MEAC semi-final run last year but unless a young blood steps up they will be right around the middle again.

25. Longwood Lancers (Big South):

Ending the season with a 16-game losing streak was just the nail in the coffin from last year. Losing their two best players, the Lancers will have to find a new identity once again.

26. Howard Bison (MEAC):

The Bison face all three of their D.C. opponents in one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the MEAC. No one expects much from Howard in these games but could it prepare them better than any other team in the league?

27. Delaware State Hornets (MEAC):

Losing their two top players from a season ago, the Hornets have a tall task ahead with only senior forward, Kavon Waller leading the troops.

28. Coppin State (MEAC):

The Eagles got Juan Dixon as a new head coach for the 2017-18 season. Hopefully it will help them going forward because they have not had a winning season since 2011.

29. VMI Keydets (SoCon):

Last season VMI only had one non-conference win against a Division I school. The outlook for this year is not much better.

Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State


Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

The pieces are starting to come together for Patrick Ewing.

On Monday the Georgetown Hoyas picked up perhaps the biggest (literally and figuratively) target of the transfer market, Omer Yurtseven.

From North Carolina State, the transfer from Istanbul Turkey will have two years remaining of eligibility. Due to NCAA transfer rules, he is not allowed to play for the 2018-19 season.


Standing at 7-0, the center helped power the Wolfpack to an NCAA tournament bid this past season. Averaging 13.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks a contest, Yurstseven earned All-ACC Third Team honors in the 2017-18 season. He also touted a 58.3 shooting percentage and was not afraid to pull it up from deep either (22 made three-pointers).

NC State lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to No. 8 Seton Hall, but he was limited due to foul trouble with only two points and two rebounds in 14 minutes of play.

Initially, he is the option to fill the void that Jessie Govan will leave, whether that is during this offseason or next. Already the team has lost power forward Marcus Derrickson

Yurtseven will just be another frontcourt talent for Ewing with the Hoyas.

It was widely reported that he was considering playing options, both in the United States and abroad before this announcement. Easily he has the talent to go in first round of the NBA Draft whichever year he declares.

On the same day, the Hoyas also announced the signing of four-star guard James Akinjo.

After historic season, Virginia's Tony Bennett named AP Coach of the Year


After historic season, Virginia's Tony Bennett named AP Coach of the Year

SAN ANTONIO -- Virginia coach Tony Bennett isn't going to waver from his foundation, whether it's the philosophy that built the Cavaliers into a contender or the big-picture perspective that helps him handle the sting of a historically improbable loss.

Both ends of that approach are fully on display now as he is named The Associated Press men's college basketball coach of the year.

Bennett won the honor Thursday after his Cavaliers set a program single-season record for wins, dominated the Atlantic Coast Conference and reached No. 1 in the AP Top 25 for the first time since the Ralph Sampson era. Yet that wildly successful season ended abruptly in the most unexpected way: with the Cavaliers falling to UMBC to become the first No. 1 seed to lose to a 16-seed in NCAA Tournament history.

"They experienced things a lot of guys don't," Bennett said in an interview with the AP. "That kind of success? Oh my gosh. And then that kind of loss? ... But again, their body of work deserves to be celebrated.

"And then so much of what society looks at -- it begs the question -- is it just about how you do in March? Or is it about the whole thing? It's a fair debate (on) what matters. But I told them: I wouldn't trade this team for anything. Even the experiences, as hard as they are, this is part of the process."

Bennett was the runaway winner for the award, which is being presented at the Final Four. He earned 50 of 65 votes from AP Top 25 writers with ballots submitted before the start of the NCAA Tournament.

Tennessee's Rick Barnes was second with five votes after leading the Volunteers to 26 wins and an NCAA bid despite being picked to finish 13th in the 14-team Southeastern Conference. First-year Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann was third with four votes.

This marks the second time Bennett has won the award, the other coming in 2007 when he was at Washington State.

In Bennett's ninth season, the Cavaliers (31-3) went from being picked to finish sixth in the ACC to winning the regular-season race by four games -- the first to win the ACC by that wide a margin since 2000. It then won the ACC Tournament to complete a 20-1 run against league opponents.


Virginia also reached No. 1 in the AP Top 25 for the first time since December 1982 and stayed there the final five weeks of the regular season, the last two unanimously.

And yet, the 48-year-old coach knows much of the focus will be on how things ended: that 74-54 loss to the Retrievers while playing without ACC sixth man of the year De'Andre Hunter.

Dealing with a roster of players in pained disbelief, Bennett said he has told them that they have "an unbelievable captive audience" waiting to see how they would handle it.

"I said how you respond to this will matter to your mom and dads, to your brothers, your sisters, your friends," Bennett said. "If they see that you're not fake about it, that yeah, of course you're going to be discouraged and down after a loss like that, but that you're OK. You can live with it.

"I said: you don't know the power that that's going to have in their life and in your life."

Bennett said he appreciated other coaches offering support, which included Syracuse Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim noting: "If I could hire a coach in this country and I could get Tony Bennett, there would be nobody in second place."

He said he's still reviewing what worked and what didn't, but "certainly you don't overreact" by changing everything that had brought the Cavaliers to this point.

This is, after all, a program that has been a 1-seed three times in the past five seasons with three ACC regular-season titles.

And Bennett won't be deterred from chasing more, even if it means stumbling a few more times on the way to reaching his goals.

"You better have something beyond the opinion of man or just how you feel, because this stuff is fleeting," Bennett said.

"So that's where obviously my faith is everything to me. You hear people talk about their faith in the lord and the relationship with the people that they care about, their family and their trusted friends. Those things stand the test of time. And that's what you have to draw from. And then you move on."