Feast Week is over. A majority of programs have played in the early-season tournaments and now attention will turn to prep for their upcoming conference slates.
During Feast Week a lot occurred in the college basketball landscape. Stephen F. Austin became the latest mid-major with a purple jersey to upset a blue-blood on their home court. But, they were not the only top-ranked teams to fall. Some Mid-Atlantic programs had something to say about that.
Virginia Tech (#5) unseated Michigan State during the Maui Jim Invitational. Landers Nolley II is a real force and already is showing the ability to carry the Hokies early in the season. That upset has vaulted Tech into the top-five of the rankings for the first time this season.
Georgetown (#7) was almost famous as they held a lead for a sizeable portion of their game against Duke. They fell short and all of a sudden things are going in the wrong direction for the Hoyas.
On top of Maryland (#1) winning the Orlando Invitational, there are several mid-majors that also came home with hardware during Feast Week. Liberty (#4) won the Bahamas Showcase and George Mason (#6) won the Cayman Islands Classic.
Now time for the ACC-Big Ten Challenge and the Big East-Big 12 crossover.
Mid-Atlantic matchups to watch:
Georgetown vs. Oklahoma State - Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 8:00 p.m. on ESPN+
No. 10 Duke vs. Virginia Tech - Friday, Dec. 6 at 7:00 p.m. on ACCN
No. 7 North Carolina vs. No. 5 Virginia - Sunday, Dec. 8 at 4:00 p.m. on ACCN
No. 3 Maryland vs. Penn State - Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 7:00 on ESPN2
Delaware vs. Villanova - Saturday, Dec. 14 at 2:00 on ESPN2
Mid-Atlantic Power Rankings
1. Maryland Terrapins (Big Ten):
Last Week: #2 (+1)
While the Terps have their flaws - turnovers are crushing the team - they are finding ways to win and this past weekend put together an impressive run in the Orlando Invitational, claiming the title. It culminated with a commanding championship victory over Marquette. Maryland doubled up the Golden Eagles in the first half by 21 points and cruised to a victory.
Beating Marquette really is the first marque win the Terps have gathered this season. It solidifies their standing as one of the top teams in the country and rising to No. 3 in the latest AP Poll. At 8-0 it is the team's best start in over a decade.
Anthony Cowan Jr. was integral to the team's run in Orlando. In doing so, he claimed the NCAA's and Big Ten's Player of the Week Award.
Slightly more challenging schedule ahead as they gear up for conference play. They have Notre Dame, Illinois and Penn State all in a seven-day span.
2. Virginia Cavaliers (ACC):
Record: 7-0 (1-0)
Last Week: #1 (-1)
UVA's slip is more indicative of Maryland's performance last week than Virginia's. The Cavaliers' tournament title came in a weaker Air Force Tip-Off Tournament but reaffirmed everyone's impression of Virginia.
The team is still a defensive juggernaut. The most points they have given up is 55 against Vermont. On average the Cavaliers are only allowing teams to score 40 points a contest.
Mamadi Diakite is continuing his stellar start as the team's main focal point on offense. His 13.9 points, 7.3 rebounds per game averages have him moving up his NBA draft stock. Still, the team is solid in all areas of the court and it is hard to find a weakness in this team.
With Purdue and North Carolina on the docket this week though, we'll really see how Tony Bennett has prepared his team this year.
3. VCU Rams (A-10):
Last Week: #3 (N/A)
VCU had a great opportunity to prove themselves in a studded Emerald Coast Classic. A preliminary matchup with Purdue followed by either Tennessee or Florida State gave the Rams a chance to vault themselves into the national conversation. Instead, they left Florida 0-2, losing both contests by a combined six points. One of the losses from a heart-breaking buzzer-beater.
As a result, they dropped out of the AP Poll and only have one more notable non-conference game left on their schedule.
The two Marcus's are still rolling. With Marcus Evans at the point and Marcus Santos-Silva in the paint, they are totaling 26 points a game together. Evans has been the real sharp-shooter this year (48.6% from deep), helping his case to be the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year this season.
4. Liberty Flames (Atlantic Sun):
Last Week: #5 (+1)
Liberty became the first team in Division I to collect 10 wins on their record this season. It also marks the first time the team has started 10-0 and extended a home non-conference unbeaten streak to 15 games going back to last season.
Liberty won the Islands of the Bahamas Showcase this past weekend, beating Morgan State, Rice and UMKC. Freshman Kyle Rode was named the Tournament's MVP after he averaged 13 points and five rebounds in three games. He's replaced Caleb Homesley in the team's starting lineup who once again is battling an injury.
They still haven't played anybody of note though en route to their undefeated start. Radford (KenPom 143) back on the season opener is still their best victory.
That will all change in the next two weeks as they travel to Grand Canyon and Vanderbilt. Two winnable games for the Flames.
5. Virginia Tech Hokies (ACC):
Record: 6-2 (1-0)
Last Week: #6 (+1)
Virginia Tech shocked a lot of people by beating then-No. 3 Michigan State on the national stage in the Maui Invitational. As he has done all season, Landers Nolley II put on a show with 22 points, 4-for-6 shooting from 3-point range and dishing out five assists. The Hokies played a gritty game, forcing the Spartans into 16 turnovers.
It was the program's second straight win against a top-three opponent after upsetting Duke in Blacksburg last year.
Unfortunately, they could not replicate that against a strong Dayton squad and then BYU to close the tournament. Still, Nolley made the all-tournament team and was named the ACC's Freshman of the Week for his performances down in Maui.
Up next they will look to make it two in a row as they host the Duke Blue Devils for their second ACC contest of the season. As great as the season has been for Virginia Tech, the only way they make it back to the tournament this year is getting the job done in the ACC.
6. George Mason Patriots (A-10):
Last Week: #7 (+1)
An 8-1 start paired with a tournament championship really has a lot of momentum churring down in Fairfax, VA. The only blemish on their resume is a road loss to No. 3 Maryland.
The Patriots are winning the games they are supposed to be winning. In the Cayman Islands Classic, they really showcased their defensive prowess forcing teams into tough shots and turnovers. On the season they have held opponents to a 40% clip.
Better news for Mason is that their best player is back. Justin Kier returned from injury last week and did so like he never missed a game.
7. Georgetown Hoyas (Big East):
Last Week: #4 (-3)
Everything changed at halftime for Georgetown in halftime against Duke in the 2K Empire Classic. The Hoyas were enjoying a three-point lead over the Blue Devils and riding high off of their upset victory over the Longhorns.
Then Duke did what Duke normally does and took over to win the game. Georgetown then returned home to fall to the SoCon's UNC Greensboro.
All of a sudden they are now without their point guard, James Akinjo, and top bench option, Josh LeBlanc while other members of the program are facing legal issues.
A drastic change in the Hoyas season.
8. Richmond Spiders (A-10):
Last Week: #10 (+2)
A neutral-site win over Wisconsin has really legitimized Richmond's impressive start to the season. The Spiders held the Badgers to a 34% shooting mark and 26% mark from behind the arc.
Richmond can really put together a strong season this year. Already we knew Jacob Gilyard, Nick Sherod and Grant Golden were good. Insert transfer Blake Francis into that lineup that put up 14 points in six of the team's seven games.
There are two really good teams hailing from the capital of the Commonwealth this season.
9. Delaware Blue Hens (CAA):
Last Week: #11 (+2)
Okay, Delaware is not a team anyone wants to face this season. They have the makings of a No. 13 seed team that could upset a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Nat Darling is a one-man wrecking crew, averaging over 22 points a contest. But, if you take him out there are several others that can make up for it. Take your pick between Justyn Mutts, Ryan Allen or Kevin Anderson. All are capable of going off and all can score in different ways.
At 9-0 Delaware is off to their best start in program history.
10. UMBC Retrievers (A-East):
Last Week: #9 (-1)
UMBC went through a rough stretch in the past two weeks, returning from the Jamaica Classic without a victory. They returned to the UMBC Event Center though with a victory over Drexel to wrap up the week.
11. William & Mary Tribe (CAA):
Last Week: #12 (+1)
Nathan Knight continues to be a double-double machine. Against Morehead State, he had 28 points and 12 boards. Against Buffalo, he posted 30 and 10.
He's had six double-doubles in eight games this season.
12. James Madison Dukes (CAA):
Last Week: #13 (+1)
All was well and good until they lost to Coppin State. Take that away and they could have been in the top 10.
13. Old Dominion Monarchs (C-USA):
Last Week: #8 (-5)
14. Radford Highlanders (Big South):
Last Week: #14 (N/A)
15. Towson Tigers (CAA):
Last Week: #15 (N/A)
16. American Eagles (Patriot):
Last Week: #16 (N/A)
17. Navy Midshipmen (Patriot):
Last Week: #21 (+4)
A 26-6 run against Brown gave Navy a 20-point victory over the Bears. John Carter Jr. and Cam Davis combined for 50 points in the win.
18. Loyola Greyhounds (Patriot):
Last Week: #18 (N/A)
19. Hampton Pirates (Big South):
Last Week: #17 (-2)
20. George Washington Colonials (A-10):
Last Week: #22 (+2)
Things are finally looking up for the Colonials. Wins over Evansville and Milwaukee got GW on the right track. Against Evansville, Amel Potter became the 50th Colonial to join the 1,000 point club.
21. Coppin State (MEAC):
Last Season: 3-6
Last Week: #22 (+1)
Beating Cornell and slamming James Madison by 16 points has Coppin State trending up.
22. Longwood Lancers (Big South):
Last Week: #20 (-2)
23. Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers (NEC):
Last Week: #23 (N/A)
24. Norfolk State Spartans (MEAC):
Last Week: #19 (-5)
A promising start gets halted after losing to DII Caldwell College.
25. Morgan State Bears (MEAC):
Last Week: #25 (N/A)
26. VMI Keydets (SoCon):
Record: 3-6 (0-1)
Last Week: #26 (N/A)
27. Howard Bison (MEAC):
Last Week: #27 (N/A)
28. Delaware State Hornets (MEAC):
Last Week: #29 (+1)
29. Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks (MEAC):
Last Week: #28 (-1)
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