Opening weekend is historically known for strange upsets especially from mid-major teams. For the top teams in the Mid-Atlantic most of opening weekend went according to plan.
For others like Richmond and Norfolk State, they suffered huge opening weekend losses.
Old Dominion moves into the top 10 in the rankings after wins over both Towson and James Madison, two former CAA opponents. These wins are not good enough to shake-up any noise in the hierarchy of mid-major programs. But could this be the start of a year that the Monarchs get back into NCAA Tournament contention?
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These rankings are based on scores as of Monday, November 13. All 29 Division I schools in Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware.
1. Maryland Terrapins (Big Ten):
Last Week: #1 (+0)
Two convincing victories for the Terps to open up the season, a 15-point win at Stony Brook and a 53-point whopping of Maryland-Eastern Shore. Both were games that there should have been no worry over. It also feels good when your trio of sophomores, Anthony Cowan Jr., Justin Jackson, and Kevin Huerter are already off to a fast start.
2. Virginia Cavaliers (ACC):
Last Week: #2 (+0)
Yep Virginia is still good at defense. In two games the Cavaliers played in the opening weekend, they held their opponents to a combined 97 points.
Don’t get used to the 93 points that Virginia scored against Austin Peay, because that will likely be the most points they score all season.
This week they have a big match-up ahead of them, playing for bragging rights across the state of Virginia. They travel to VCU on Friday for their first big test of the 2017-18 season.
3. VCU Rams (A-10):
Last Week: #3 (+0)
Mike Rhoades got his first two wins at VCU under his belt, albeit wins over Grambling State and North Florida.
While wins are wins, giving up 85 to the Ospreys at home is not a great sign for a defensive oriented team. Allowing 17 threes could just be an anomaly, but in a guard-heavy conference, it is something the Rams are going to have to figure out.
There is no slow up in Justin Tillman’s game though, thoroughly embracing his new role as the playmaker for VCU. He averaged 20.5 points through two games (74 percent shooting) along with 9.0 rebounds.
Longwood grad transfer Kris Lane also got a strong start with 11 and 17 points to start his VCU career.
4. Virginia Tech Hokies (ACC):
Last Week: #4 (+0)
In two games the Hokies scored a combined 243 points. They played Detroit Mercy (who??) and The Citadel.
Based on these two games alone it is still tough to gauge how this team will perform this season. Nevertheless, the Hokies loved seeing their freshman guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker show some confidence. Taking the most shots on the team he averaged 26.5 points per game while shooting 63 percent from the field and 50 percent from deep.
5. George Mason Patriots (A-10):
Last Week: #5 (+0)
Escaping with a win at their home opener over Lafayette, the Patriots traveled to Louisville and gave the No. 16 Cardinals a real fight down to the wire.
Yes, their eight-man roster is limiting and at times this weekend they were forced to keep their starting five on the court. This was a reason they could not completely shut the door on the Cardinals on Sunday.
However, Jaire Grayer proved he could be just as good as Marquise Moore was last season for Mason. Against Louisville he posted a double-double (20 points, 10 rebounds) and leads the team in scoring thus far in 2017-18.
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6. Old Dominion Monarchs (C-USA):
Last Week: #14 (+8)
Going 2-0 against two former rivals always feels great. Both being wins against teams in these rankings will give you a jump too.
It wasn’t exactly clean getting wins over Towson and James Madison but coaches love room for improvement.
In his second-year with the team, redshirt junior B.J. Stith appears to have found his role. Against James Madison he scored 13 points in a span of two minutes, finishing with 19 overall. Getting double figures from him each night could really help take some work off of Ahmad Caver.
7. Towson Tigers (CAA):
Last Week: #6 (-1)
Old Dominion has never been an easy place to play at and for once it looks like the Monarchs are back to at least contend for a conference championship.
In a battle of former CAA foes, the Monarchs were able to shut down Mike Morsell to only nine shots and it really stunted the Tigers offense. While sophomore Zane Martin played strong, there is going to have to be some help from the supporting cast.
Towson responded nicely with a dominating win over Frostburg State on Monday night to get into the win column.
8. UMBC Retrievers (A-East):
Last Week: #8 (+0)
Cannot be upset with road losses to both SMU and No. 3 Arizona. Against the Wildcats, the Retrievers actually were able to stay within 10 points of one of the best teams in the country until the waning moments. Fifth-year player Jarius Lyles balled-out for UMBC, averaging 27.5 points in both games, staking his claim to an early frontrunner for America East Player of the Year.
9. George Washington Colonials (A-10):
Last Week: #9 (+0)
The Colonials single win was over cross-town rival Howard and it was not in the most convincing of fashions. They allowed Howard to score 75 points and never were able to pull away.
From three-point range they were clearly shaking off some rust (29 percent on 17 shots) and they continuously fouled Howard unnecessarily. Yuta Watanbe led the seven-man rotation with 19 points in 40 min, but also the team saw South Florida grad transfer Bo Zeigler for the first time. He was the highlight of the night with 12 of his 16 points coming off of dunks.
They travel to Hampton on Nov. 11 to play Florida State, a game that can be seen on NBC Sports Washington +.
10. Georgetown Hoyas (Big East):
Last Week: #10 (+0)
An easy 16-point win over a small team is exactly what Georgetown needed for Patrick Ewing’s coaching debut.
Jessie Govan showed that he has not lost a step this off-season with 20 points, 15 rebounds, and four blocks in their home opener. A difference maker early will be the guy along side him, Marcus Derrickson at 6-7. He got going from deep (4-7) and really put the game on ice to finish with 20 points and eight rebounds.
Now their schedule does get a little more difficult. They have Mount St. Mary’s at home up next.
11. Morgan State Bears (MEAC):
Last Week: #11 (+0)
Morgan State started the year with a loss at Binghamton and a win at South Florida. Both games should have been easy wins for the Bears, but they being unable to score more than 32 points in a half has really held them back.
They’ve spread the ball around to different scorers with Phillip Carr struggling to start the season. No one has seemed to catch fire other than LaPri McCray-Pace, 15 points in their win over South Florida.
12. Liberty Flames (Big South):
Last Week: #15 (+3)
Doubling up Clarks Summit (Division III) was the only game the Flames had on opening weekend. They did exactly what all good teams do and took care of business. Up next an ACC foe, Wake Forest on Tuesday night.
13. Navy Midshipmen (Patriot):
Last Week: #17 (+4)
Returning four starters helped the Midshipmen get one of the most surprising upsets on opening weekend, beating Pittsburgh in Annapolis. It was Navy’s first win over an ACC opponent since 1971 and it was done in an all-around effort for the Midshipmen.
Later the team would get smoked by No. 13 Miami on the road, but all they needed was one win to break the streak.
14. Delaware Blue Hens (CAA):
Last Week: #19 (+5)
A win over Richmond looked great, until the Spiders lost to Jacksonville. Then it became, why did they not win by more?
The Blue Hens never trailed in their match-up with Richmond and was up by 33 in the first half. Still Delaware stuck with their main rotation and the Spiders slowly climbed back. Ryan Daly (22 points) was one of four players that reached double figures, getting some key help. Eric Carter also added a double-double (12 points, 12 rebounds).
15. Loyola Greyhounds (Patriot):
Last Week: #20 (+5)
Look at the Greyhounds. A four-point loss at No. 19 Northwestern gave the Wildcats quite a wake-up call to start the season.
With multiple chances to take the lead in the final two minutes, Loyola couldn’t quite get over the hump. Down the stretch freshman Brent Holcombe came up huge, hitting four three pointers on the night. Senior Cam Gregory had 18 points and 11 boards.
If this was no fluke, these guys are definitely better than middle of the pack in the Patriot League.
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16. Richmond Spiders (A-10):
Last Week: #7 (-9)
The Spiders are without their starting point guard Khwan Fore but goodness a home 30-point loss to Jacksonville State?
From time-to-time Richmond has these head scratchers and are able to rebound, but their head scratchers are never this bad. Additionally the team was down by 33 in the first half against Delaware before making the game more respectable.
From here their schedule does not get any easier either. Don’t put a fork in the Spiders yet, but they are not far away from a tailspin.
17. Hampton Pirates (MEAC):
Last Week: #12 (-5)
A loss to Rider on opening night and a 17-point win over a Division II opponent is all to go off of for this team. Allowing 14 three pointers in a contest will never be the recipe for success unless you are a team built to match. Needless to say, Hampton is not with only 30 attempts through two games.
16. William & Mary Tribe (CAA):
Last Week: #16 (+0)
Yikes, a 34-point lost to High Point is how the Tribe opened up their season this year.
William & Mary was demolished in the paint, doubled up in scoring (44-22) and outrebounded (38-29). For the game, the Panthers shot 61 percent from the floor and 53 percent from behind the arc. No one is winning a game giving up those numbers.
Nathan Knight with six blocks was the only defensive highlight for the Tribe.
17. Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers (NEC):
Last Week: #18 (+1)
Two buy-in games against Marquette and No. 14 Notre Dame both resulted in 20+ point losses.
With twelve freshmen joining The Mount it is a little surprising the deficits were not by more. Junior Robinson is forced to take all of the shots for the team and his stroke is just a little off to start the year. Now time for a contest they really do care about, or at least their fans will. They travel just down the road to Georgetown.
20. James Madison Dukes (CAA):
Last Week: #21 (+1)
The Dukes dominated a Division III opponent when they opened up the season and then fell by 16 to Old Dominion. Against the Monarchs, it was Stuckey Mosley who led the team in the main three statistical categories, points (14), rebounds (6), and assists (3). Not much else from the team.
21. Radford (Big South):
Last Week: #23 (+2)
A 10-point loss to Ohio State sounds good on paper, but doesn’t hold as much weight as it used to. Redshirt freshman Carlik Jones has led the team in scoring coming off of the bench in both games.
22. Norfolk State Spartans (MEAC):
Last Week: #13 (-9)
The returning leading scorer from 2017, Zaynah Robinson has been sidelined to start the season but that is no excuse to lose to a Division III team on your home opener. The Spartans plummet down the rankings after only two games.
23. American Eagles (Patriot):
Last Week: #22 (-1)
American got trounced by Kansas State by 28 points and then face No. 24 West Virginia this week. Afterwards the Eagles’ schedule eases up.
24. Howard Bison (MEAC):
Last Week: #26 (+2)
Competitive in both of their two games to start the year, at George Washington and at Indiana, gives Howard a slight bump over other winless teams.
25. Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks (MEAC):
Last Week: #24 (-1)
The Hawks scored 43 points in their first game of the season against the Maryland Terps. Their tough non-conference schedule will continue but will have the chance to rebound later in the year.
26. Longwood Lancers (Big South):
Last Week: #25 (-1)
Losing streak now is extended to 17 games after falling to Stephen F. Austin in their home opener.
27. Delaware State Hornets (MEAC):
Last Week: #27 (+0)
Their lone win was over Cairn, apparently they are a Division III team, and their loss was to DePaul.
28. Coppin State (MEAC):
Last Week: #28 (+0)
Their first eight games are on the road but you have to nearly double that stretch before you can find a game that Coppin State can realistically win.
29. VMI Keydets (SoCon):
Last Week: #29 (+0)
This year the Keydets are better than the squad from 2017 that only beat one Division I opponent outside of their conference. In fact they are probably better than some teams in this rankings. Before that happens though, they can’t lose by 45 points, even if it is to N.C. State.