DMV College Basketball Power Rankings: Virginia, Virginia Tech lead the way

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DMV College Basketball Power Rankings: Virginia, Virginia Tech lead the way

It’s the holiday season meaning that non-conference play is wrapping up and conference competition is right around the corner.

Throughout the Mid-Atlantic area there are only a handful of squads that have impressed enough to even be in consideration for the NCAA Tournament. That includes teams that may have a shot at a conference championship.

One team in particular is the Virginia Tech Hokies who are off to an impressive start this season at 9-2. They pass Maryland for the second overall spot in the region but may do more than just lay claim to one of the top teams in the area. Giving Kentucky a run for their money at Rupp Arena is no easy task.

Elsewhere across the DMV, the George Mason Patriots continue to slide downhill, Georgetown stays still, and Navy is quietly moving upward.


These rankings are based on scores as of Tuesday, December 19 at 12:00 p.m. All 29 Division I schools in Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware are included in this rankings.

1. Virginia Cavaliers (ACC):
Record: 9-1
Last Week: #1 (+0)

Climbing up to No. 13 in the latest AP poll, the Cavaliers are in a perfect position to prepare for their ACC run.

Virginia couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season with it expecting to be a down year for the program. At 9-1 their only loss so far was to a fellow top 25 team.

The team is still holding down one of the top defenses in the land allowing only 53.3 points a contest. This year they also happen to have an offense with sophomore Kyle Guy (17.0 ppg, 46.8 percent from three-point range) and senior Devon Hall (13.3 ppg, 2.8 apg).

At home the team is 6-0 and hope to carry that home court advantage in John Paul Jones Arena to some of their key ACC games early in the conference stretch.

Most recently they beat Davidson 80-60 with Nigel Johnson scoring 22 points and Hall contributing a career-high 20. They host both Savannah State and Hampton before hosting Boston College in their first ACC match-up of the year.

2. Virginia Tech Hokies (ACC):
Record: 9-2
Last Week: #3 (+1)

Okay, time to start taking the Hokies a little bit more seriously.

Casual teams don’t just walk into Rupp Arena and give the No. 8 Kentucky Wildcats a run for their money. That is reserved for national caliber teams, which Virginia Tech is making their case for this season.

Shooting 58.2 percent from the field, Virginia Tech had the Wildcats on their heals. Ahmed Hill continued his strong campaign with 20 points to lead the team and included five three-pointers.

It was an all-around performance overshadowed by an 8-3 run to give Kentucky the game.

Combine that with their South Carolina win that continues to get better as the season goes on, the Hokies are on the cusp of a great season.

Two more walkover games by hosting Presbyterian and North Carolina A&T before conference play.

3. Maryland Terrapins (Big Ten):
Record: 10-3 (1-1)
Last Week: #2 (-1)

Since the last DMV Power Rankings came out, the Terps gathered wins over Gardner-Webb and Division III Catholic University.

Fortunately for Maryland it was a chance for them to rest their top two forwards, Justin Jackson and Bruno Fernando. It may still be a while before the Terrapins see either of them come back. Their next game is hosting Fairleigh Dickenson on Dec 21 and then they will probably come back on Dec. 29 vs. UMBC before conference play tips off after the New Year. That could be 22 days of rest for the two.

And as long as the Terps keep winning, it will not matter how many of these non-conference games they miss.

Other than that, two sophomores are pacing the team. Anthony Cowan Jr. leads the team with 15.8 ppg and Kevin Huerter is 54.2 percent from the field and 47.1 percent from behind the arc. 

4. VCU Rams (A-10):
Record: 6-5
Last Week: #4 (+0)

There continues to be setbacks in a transition year for the Rams. Albeit a strong non-conference schedule, they already have five losses on their record, never good looking for a borderline mid-major school.

Granted every team they lost to should be in the NCAA Tournament when the season is over.

They continue to be a run and gun team, which does not seem to fit all players on the roster. Some returners look exhausted pushing the ball up and down the court.

Against No. 19 Seton Hall, the Rams allowed them to shoot 54.7 percent from the field resulting in a blowout 90-67 loss.

Their win over Bucknell ended their two-game skid and is perhaps their most impressive win on their resume. Senior Justin Tillman scored a team-high 26 points and was the fifth straight contest that the 6-8 forward broke the 20-point plateau.

A huge chance upcoming for VCU to go on a run, they don’t play a top KenPom top-150 opponent for three games.

5. Towson Tigers (CAA):
Record: 10-1
Last Week: #5 (+0)

All Towson does is win these days. The Tigers have wrapped up 10 straight wins, the third longest winning streak in the country.

And Towson is doing it with Mike Morsell as only their second leading scorer, in a subdued role.

Their lone match was in a win hosting UMBC, giving five victories against in-state schools this season. They did it in an all-round effort where the bench racked up 29 points among only four different players. Blocking the Retrievers nine times and outrebounding them 49-35, Towson simply gave themselves more chances to score.

Senior Eddie Keith II registered the first double-double of his career with 12 points and 15 rebounds.

The winning streak is tied for the third longest in program history. The toughest stretch of their non-conference schedule is now upon them with a neutral site game against Oakland and road contest against the reeling Pittsburgh Panthers.


6. Old Dominion Monarchs (C-USA):
Record: 8-3
Last Week: #6 (+0)

It took overtime, but the Monarchs escaped with a scary road win over Fairfield this week.

They now have won three in a row before they finish their non-conference slate against cross-town rival Norfolk State on Dec. 22.

As of Tuesday morning, they are ranked 69th in the country according to KenPom.

In their overtime victory, Ahmad Caver had career-highs with 30 points and seven rebounds. Against Bowling Green B.J. Stith had 21 points.

Old Dominion is big, and aside from their near-fall to Fairfield, they do not have a bad result on the season. As of right now they are actually just outside the bubble of the NCAA Tournament, still a long way away.

7. Georgetown Hoyas (Big East):
Record: 8-1
Last Week: #7 (+0)

Besides having their hearts ripped away from them in the second half, Georgetown actually looked pretty good in their loss to Syracuse.

Although it has been well documented on how bad their schedule is, the loss against Syracuse bodes well for future tournament aspirations. A decent Big East record and the Hoyas may be nearing the line on who gets into the tournament.

In the loss, center Jessie Govan powered the team with 21 points, eight rebounds, and three blocks. But it was a full team effort that got the Hoyas in a chance to win the game.

The high-low ball movement stunted the zone put up by the Orange, and the Georgetown defense smothered Syracuse’s attack.

Keeping pace with his season numbers, Govan is averaging a double-double (20.7 points, 12.4 rebounds) while the rest of the line-up is supplying support from all other areas of the court.

On a side note, Govan’s back-up Chris Sodom was dismissed from the program on Tuesday.

8. William & Mary Tribe (CAA):
Record: 7-3
Last Week: #8 (+0)

No movement for the Tribe despite a 25-point loss at Ohio State.

They remain one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country at 46.9 percent as of this writing. They are led by Connor Burchfield (56.7 percent) and Matt Milon (53.6 percent), combined they have 64 three-pointers on the season.

All five of their regular starters are averaging double-figures and they could end up being a sleeper in the surprisingly competitive CAA.

Another big test for them this week traveling to No. 15 TCU to wrap up non-conference play.

9. Liberty Flames (Big South):
Record: 8-3
Last Week: #11 (+2)

Yes they were two blowout wins against bad teams, but Liberty is now on a three-game winning streak.

They have two top-150 wins over Wake Forest and Georgia State and have set themselves up to be in an all-out clash between them and UNC-Asheville for the Big South title.

Nearing the end of non-conference play, Scottie James is averaging just under a double-double with 12.4 points and 8.5 rebounds. The team is led in scoring by junior Lovell Cabbil with 13.3 points a contest.

As a team they are holding opponents to fewer than 60 points, under 40 percent from the field and under 30 percent from deep. All check marks for a competitive college team.

Watch out for their entertaining match-up against Fort Wayne on Dec. 21.

10. George Washington Colonials (A-10):
Record: 5-6
Last Week: #10 (+0)

The Colonials only leap frog their fellow George because their losses in this stretch of the season was not as bad.

A 20-point loss to Penn State and a nine-point loss to No. 6 Miami, the later at home, has them on a two-game losing streak.

In both of those contests their problem was their offense. Both Penn State and Miami tried to keep Yuta Watanbe at bay and no one picked up the scoring slack.

In his senior season, the 6-9 guard has averaged 14.5 points a contest to go with 2.1 blocks. Typically he and Jair Bolden get the offense going with another Colonial having a strong night. Neither was the case in their worst two scoring games of the season.

11. Navy Midshipmen (Patriot):
Record: 9-3
Last Week: #12 (+1)

Now that the Army-Navy game is over, it is time to flip to basketball.

Quietly the Midshipmen are moving up the rankings and are making quite a showing for themselves this non-conference season. They have won five straight and eight of their last nine.

The team is coming off of a five-point victory over Columbia after trailing by 18 points in the first half. This time it was Shawn Anderson who helped power the team with 21 points and 12 rebounds. It was the first double-double of his career.

Throughout the season they have had six different players lead them in scoring. Each night, they are regularly seeing contributions from a wide range of 11 players.

Still yet to get a quality win so far, they get that test against Lipscomb from the Atlantic Sun on the 21st.

12. George Mason Patriots (A-10):
Record: 5-7
Last Week: #9 (-3)

Back-to-back losses by a combined 41 points have really put a damper on a young Patriots squad. Honestly in terms of the rankings, their drop was a longtime coming.

Their offense has been stifled playing two of the best defensive teams in the country, Georgia Southern and Penn State.

Alas, George Mason has not done themselves any favors. In those two games they were 4-37 from deep. They only place they are consistently scoring is at the free throw line.

Hopefully they can get back on track against Morgan State this week.

13. UMBC Retrievers (A-East):
Record: 8-5
Last Week: #13 (+0)

A win in the battle of Baltimore against Coppin State and beating Northern Kentucky have the Retrievers trending in the right direction again.

Following up a 27-point game with a 31-point game, Jairus Lyles continues his hot streak. There has been 13 games so far this year and in seven of them he reached 20 points. He is a driver and a shooter making him lethal for UMBC and they are going to need it traveling to College Park after Christmas.


14. Richmond Spiders (A-10):
Record: 2-8
Last Week: #14 (+0)

All of the losses the Richmond Spiders have been to reasonable opponents. Each team is in the top-200 in the national RPI.

A loss to James Madison? That would have been a different story.

Fortunately for the Spider faithful, they had freshman Jacob Gllyard on their roster for that contest. Hitting a game winning three with 0.4 seconds left on the clock was the highlight for a career-night for the young man. He had 23 points on 9-16 shooting, including five three pointers.

I do approve of the hashtag #GillyGilly

Honestly the Spiders are going to be the Atlantic 10’s worst nightmare come conference play. They are better than their 2-8 record and still will be around middle of the pack. With a dynamic roster of De’Monte Buckingham, Gran Golden, Khwan Fore, and Gilyard they are doing all the right things but have yet to put it together for wins.  

15. Morgan State Bears (MEAC):
Record: 4-6
Last Week: #15 (+0)

Shooting 37.9 percent from behind the field, the Bears were unable to get a win in their trip to Manhattan. Phillip Carr was held scoreless from the field, drawing some early fouls, and freshman LaPri McCray-Pace only shot 4-13.

They were led by senior Martez Cameron who had 16 points.

Morgan State has now lost four in row on their five game road trip. They do not return home until Dec. 27.

16. Radford (Big South):
Record: 5-5
Last Week: #17 (+1)

A loss to Nevada is not a bad look (and if you are not following mid-major basketball a 13-point loss on the road to Wolfpack is actually pretty good).

Six players scored six or more points for the Highlanders in an all-around game. They just could not match well against the physicality of Nevada.

Leading scorer for Radford, Ed Polite Jr. was held to only three points in that game.

The Highlanders continue playing in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic this week.

17. Delaware Blue Hens (CAA):
Record: 5-6
Last Week: #16 (-1)

The Blue Hens were able to escape over their in-state rival Delaware State Hornets after dropping a home game to the Fighting Irish.

They are still a young team that has to figure out to deliver consistent performances night-in and night-out.

By barely beating Delaware State it showed some weaknesses of this squad even though they final won a close contest. Now in games decided by ten or less, they are 2-4.

Keep an eye on some local products, seven from the Mid-Atlantic area, namely Ryan Allen (12.9 points per game).

18. Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers (NEC):
Record: 5-7
Last Week: #18 (+0)

The second career double-double by senior Chris Wray gave the Mountaineers a huge road victory over the American Eagles on Monday. It marked their first road win of the season.

Wray had 12 points and 12 rebounds. It was one of the few times this season that someone recorded double figure boards for the Mount.

Struggling in multiple categories this season, their assist rate continues to be incredible with 13.3 dishes per contest. Most of those assists are coming from Junior Robinson (5.2 apg).

19. James Madison Dukes (CAA):
Record: 4-8
Last Week: #20 (+1)

James Madison almost stole one in Richmond and then was able to travel to FIU to get their first road victory of the season.

Stuckley Mosley had 28 points, going 10 for 10 at the free throw line, to power the Dukes in their win.

Continuing to climb in the rankings, they still are not that good but they are better than what many thought heading into this season.

20. American Eagles (Patriot):
Record: 3-7
Last Week: #22 (+2)

A season high 29 points for junior Larry Motuzis gave the Eagles a win over Howard at home this week. Joined by freshman Sam Iorio who had 10 point and 11 rebounds, American was able to rebound after falling behind by 13 in the first half. 

The Mount then took that positivity away from them only nine days later.

21. VMI Keydets (SoCon):
Record: 5-5
Last Week: #21 (+0)

Back-to-back wins for the once lowly Keydets have them continuing their upward trend. They hit reality again traveling to VCU on Dec. 22.

22. Hampton Pirates (MEAC):
Record: 4-8
Last Week: #19 (-3)

Yikes, I’m really starting to loose some credibility with the Pirates based on where I had them in the preseason. They just dropped two more to Missouri State and Gardner-Webb. They now drop to 1-8 against Division I opponents.

23. Loyola Greyhounds (Patriot):
Record: 1-8
Last Week: #23 (+0)

Letting Binghamton go on a 19-5 scoring run in the first half ended any chance the Greyhounds had at getting their first Division I victory. They allowed the Bearcats to hit 58 percent from the field and gave them 13 turnovers, nine of them unforced.

24. Norfolk State Spartans (MEAC):
Record: 1-11
Last Week: #24 (+0)

A win of Mid-Atlantic Christian gets rid of the goose egg on the record, but they then followed that with two more losses. One loss was to Niagara and one to Eastern Kentucky.

They now have a cross-town contest against Old Dominion that may give them some redemption points.

25. Howard Bison (MEAC):
Record: 2-11
Last Week: #26 (+1)

The tour of D.C. area schools gave the Bison a win over Washington Adventist but also a loss to American.

Against Jacksonville State, Howard almost squeaked out a win over a good Gamecocks team missing a game-winning three pointer at the buzzer.

26. Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks (MEAC):
Record: 3-9
Last Week: #25 (-1)

Its not like they were even single-digit underdogs in their four straight losses. There was no chance for Maryland-Eastern Shore in any of those contests.

27. Longwood Lancers (Big South):
Record: 3-8
Last Week: #27 (+0)

Skipping over their three wins over non-Division I opponents, the Lancers are still struggling. In a home chance against VMI, Longwood fell behind in the first half and couldn’t quite complete the comeback. B.K. Ashe would have 21 points and Isaiah Walton had 19.

28. Delaware State Hornets (MEAC):
Record: 2-10
Last Week: #28 (+0)

The Hornets were oh so close in knocking off their rival Blue Hens. They have dropped six in a row.

29. Coppin State (MEAC):
Record: 0-11
Last Week: #29 (+0)

Nothing to see here, except for the fact that they finally hit 70 points in their loss to UMBC. Shout out to junior Lamar Morgan who had 30 against Connecticut.

Smith scores 17 to help No. 6 Maryland beat Fairfield 74-55

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Smith scores 17 to help No. 6 Maryland beat Fairfield 74-55

Jalen Smith had 17 points and eight rebounds, and No. 6 Maryland used depth and balance to wear down Fairfield in a 74-55 victory Tuesday might.

The Terrapins (4-0) took the lead for good at 9-8, increased the margin to 14 at halftime and cruised to the finish.

Anthony Cowan Jr. scored 12 points to pass James Gist and move into the Top 20 on Maryland's career scoring list with 1,424.

Sophomore Ricky Lindo Jr. contributed a career-high 13 points, and Eric Ayala also scored 13.

Landon Taliaferro scored 15 for the Stags (1-4). Twelve of Fairfield's 18 baskets were from beyond the arc.

Coming off an overtime loss to Loyola Maryland in which they committed 21 turnovers, the Stags had 16 against the Terrapins -- at least one by nine different players.

Fairfield cut a 15-point deficit to 55-46 before baskets by Cowan and Smith began a 12-3 spurt that made it 67-49 with 6:12 left. The highlight of the run was a resounding dunk by Smith off an alley-oop pass from Hakim Hart following a Fairfield turnover.

The Stags made only one field goal over the final 8 minutes.

Nine players scored in the first half for Maryland, and the Terrapins overcame an early deficit to take a 41-27 lead at the break.

Fairfield went 7 for 11 from beyond the arc before halftime, but committed 10 turnovers and was whistled for 12 fouls.

Maryland led 13-12 before a 3-pointer by Ayala and a dunk off a steal by Darryl Morsell sparked a 12-2 run that put the Terrapins up by 11.

Despite getting off to another slow start, the Terrapins completed the opening 20 minutes with their largest halftime lead of the season.


Diakite, No. 7 Virginia hold off Vermont, 61-55

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Diakite, No. 7 Virginia hold off Vermont, 61-55

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- Mamadi Diakite scored 19 points and No. 7 Virginia withstood a 3-point shooting display by Anthony Lamb and beat Vermont 61-55 on Tuesday night.

The Cavaliers (4-0) trailed before Diakite's basket gave them a 50-49 lead with 5:12 left and sparked a 9-0 run. Jay Huff scored twice in the spurt and Braxton Key hit a 3-pointer as Virginia held the Catamounts scoreless, and forced four turnovers, in a nearly four-minute span.

Lamb scored 30 for Vermont (4-1), including 25 in the second half, to nearly match the point total of the Cavaliers' first two opponents of the season, who each managed just 34 points. Stef Smith added 11 points, but Virginia turned Vermont's 13 turnovers into 20 points.

Kihei Clark scored 15 points and Key had 14 points for Virginia.

Virginia led 24-18 at halftime, but Vermont used a 10-2 run to start the half to take its first lead since the early going. Lamb had seven points in the run, including the last five, and tacked on his team's next 12 points with four 3-pointers as the score was tied five times.


Vermont: The Catamounts hang their hat on defense, too, and came into the game with a 107-9 record since the 2011-12 season when holding their opponents to 60 points or fewer

Virginia: The Cavaliers' defensive excellence has been essential early in the season as they still are struggling to find an offensive rhythm. Highly regarded freshman guard Casey Morsell came into the game having made just 2 of 21 field goal attempts and was 1 for 6. Virginia has made 21 3-pointers in its first four games and allowed 31, including 12 by the Catamounts in 33 attempts.


The Catamounts face Central Connecticut State on Saturday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut.

The Cavaliers face Massachusetts on Saturday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut.