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Mid-Atlantic college hoops power rankings: Georgetown rising despite the drama

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Mid-Atlantic college hoops power rankings: Georgetown rising despite the drama

Guess what? Another No. 1 ranked team has fallen. 

That is the theme of this college basketball season. A lot of good basketball, but no standout teams. 

In the Mid-Atlantic region, there was their own version of surprise losses. Maryland fell to Penn State and Purdue topped Virginia, both happening on the road. 

Despite the losses, it does not change the trajectory of their seasons. It's just a minor speedbump on a season that has deep March aspirations for both the Terps and Cavaliers. 

Tiers are starting to develop themselves. Although, Georgetown could care less about that and the drama around their team. The Hoyas just continue to win and are showing no signs of stopping. 

Mid-Atlantic matchups to watch: 

Maryland vs. Seton Hall - Thursday, Dec. 19 at 7:00 p.m. (FS1)
VCU vs. Wichita State - Saturday, Dec. 21 at 12:00 p.m. (ESPN2)
South Carolina vs. Virginia - Sunday, Dec. 22 at 3:00 p.m. (ABC)
Liberty vs. LSU - Sunday, Dec. 29 at 1:30 p.m. (ESPN)
George Mason vs. TCU, Dec. 30 at 9:00 p.m. (MASN)

Mid-Atlantic Power Rankings

1. Maryland Terrapins (Big Ten):
Record: 10-1 (1-1)
Last Week: #1 (N/A)

The first blemish of the season came this past week for the Terps. As the No. 3 team in the country, they marched into State College and were stuffed by the Nittany Lions. Sure, the loss is not ideal, but Penn State is looking like a more than a formidable opponent in the Big Ten. At least the Terps have gotten through the rest of the season, so far, unscathed. 

As a result, the first NET ranking came out with the Terps at 11th. Turns out the Terps really haven't been tested this season and only a couple of quality wins to speak of. 

Also, did you see what Anthony Cowan did against Illinois? Cowan put the team on his back in the final minute and carried them to a victory. In his final season in College Park, the point guard is putting up All-American performances with a 16.5 ppg, 4.3 apg and .427/.379/.738 shooting numbers.

2. Virginia Cavaliers (ACC):
Record: 8-1 (2-0)

Last Week: #2 (N/A)

Losing to Purdue, in the manner that they did, was quite shocking for the Cavaliers. On second thought, it's actually not that surprising. 

For years Tony Bennett's squads have been known for an elite defense but a questionable offense. That is until three NBA-quality players returned to the team for a run at the national championship. Now, we're back to what we know. 

Purdue shot the lights out from deep (52% on 13-for-25) and Virginia could not keep up. In contrast, they were 4-for-24 (17%).

Those hiccups will happen for Virginia, but like always it does not take long for them to respond. They answered by beating the Cole Anthony-led Tar Heels to stay undefeated in ACC play. 

3. VCU Rams (A-10):
Record: 8-2
Last Week: #3 (N/A)

VCU got a little bit of a breather in their schedule after back-to-back losses to Purdue and Tennessee. Their rebound? Forcing 44 combined turnovers to Old Dominion and Missouri State.

VCU has the 21st best defense in the country (89.5 efficiency) and that makes them a dangerous team. 

Last chance to add another quality nonconference win in the coming weeks. They travel to Wichita State for a marque contest of notable mid-major powerhouses. 

4. Liberty Flames (Atlantic Sun):
Record: 12-0
Last Week: #4 (N/A)

Who would have thought that Liberty would be the first team in the country to reach 12 wins?

By beating Vanderbilt on the road, the Flames reached 12-0 for the first time in their program's history. They are one of four undefeated teams in the country and starting to receive recognition by AP voters. 

But while their schedule is not too impressive, the NET regards them as one of the top teams in the NCAA. They placed at 19th in the NCAA in the initial rankings. 

This past week it was senior Myo Baxter-Bell that was the featured player in the offense. He took home the ASUN's Co-Player of the Week award after dropping 18 against the Commodores. 

It doesn't matter who they play though. Holding the opposition to 50.2 points a game (2nd best in the NCAA), will give you a chance to win any contest. 

5. Georgetown Hoyas (Big East):
Record: 8-3
Last Week: #7 (+2)

Give credit where credit is due. No one expected the Hoyas to keep winning after four players transferred out of the program in a matter of two weeks. 

They've rattled off three of their top four wins of the season since controversy started back in early December. Mac McClung has balled out during that time, averaging 26 points. His contributions have been a huge factor in their surprise turnaround.

It's been a great story to follow and as the team keeps winning, it makes Patrick Ewing look better and better. How long can the Hoyas keep it up? 

6. Virginia Tech Hokies (ACC):
Record: 8-3 (1-1)
Last Week: #5 (-1)

Redshirt freshman Landers Nolley II is the face of the Hokies and could be in consideration for an All-ACC honor at season's end. He's unstoppable on the offensive end of the court, but the Hokies have to get production from other areas of their roster. 

7. George Mason Patriots (A-10):
Record: 10-1
Last Week: #6 (-1)

The Patriots picked up two more wins to an impressive 10-1 start to the season. It appears that Dave Paulsen's turnaround has finally come to fruition. All that is left is to produce in Atlantic 10 play as well.

Justin Kier is nearing a return to the starting lineup. He just came off a two-week break where he last scored 14 points in 25 minutes off the bench. 

8. Richmond Spiders (A-10):
Record: 9-1
Last Week: #8 (N/A)

Blake Francis did it again for the Spiders. The transfer tied a career-best 29 points to beat Hampton. Richmond continues to prove up to the test in the early going. Some quality games ahead with Old Dominion, Radford and Alabama. 

9. William & Mary Tribe (CAA):
Record: 8-3
Last Week: #11 (+2)

Rinse. Repeat. Nathan Knight is a double-double machine. Make it nine double-doubles in 11 games this season. The CAA is going to be fun this year. 

10. Delaware Blue Hens (CAA):
Record: 10-2
Last Week: #9 (-1)

A week after the Blue Hens were praised as a team no one wants to face, Delaware went and lost to the struggling (although improving) George Washington Colonials. That was then followed up with a contested loss to ranked Villanova.

So now it's curious where the team goes from here. Will they be a front runner in the CAA or will they struggle as the pressure increases?

11. James Madison Dukes (CAA):
Record: 6-4
Last Week: #12 (+1)

12. Towson Tigers (CAA):
Record: 5-5
Last Week: #15 (+3)

13. Radford Highlanders (Big South):
Record: 3-6

Last Week: #14 (+1)

Carlik Jones willed the Highlanders to their biggest win of the season by beating James Madison. He got the point guard's double-double with 23 points and 10 assists. 

14. Old Dominion Monarchs (C-USA):
Record: 3-8
Last Week: #13 (-1)

15. American Eagles (Patriot):
Record: 4-5
Last Week: #16 (+1)

Eight steals in a contest is a rare feat. Hat tip to Sa'eed Nelson for getting eight stolen balls against UMBC.

16. UMBC Retrievers (A-East):
Record: 6-7
Last Week: #10 (-6)

17. Navy Midshipmen (Patriot):
Record: 5-4
Last Week: #17 (N/A)

Midshipmen only had one game during a two-week span. A two-point win over Marist puts them over .500.

18. George Washington Colonials (A-10):
Record: 5-5
Last Week: #20 (+2)

What a turnaround it has been this season for the Colonials. They continue to grab wins and now have taken four of their last five games. 

This week they had a crazy buzzer-beater over Boston and knocked off previously undefeated Delaware.

19. Loyola Greyhounds (Patriot):
Record: 6-4
Last Week: #18 (-1)

20. Hampton Pirates (Big South):
Record: 4-6
Last Week: #19 (-1)

21. Coppin State (MEAC):
Last Season: 4-8
Last Week: #21 (N/A)

22. Morgan State Bears (MEAC):
Record: 5-8
Last Week: #25 (+3)

23. Longwood Lancers (Big South):
Record: 5-6
Last Week: #22 (-1)

Shabotty Philips has one of the best names in college basketball. He can score too, putting up 24 points in their win over Stetson. 

24. Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers (NEC):
Record: 3-8
Last Week: #23 (-1)

25. VMI Keydets (SoCon):
Record: 5-7 (0-1)
Last Week: #26 (+1)

VMI has guards and they like utilizing them. Despite their 5-7 record, they average 11.3 3-pointers per game - third-best in the NCAA. 

26. Howard Bison (MEAC):
Record: 1-10
Last Week: #27 (+1)

27. Norfolk State Spartans (MEAC):
Record: 3-9
Last Week: #24 (-3)

28. Delaware State Hornets (MEAC):
Record: 1-10
Last Week: #28 (N/A)

29. Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks (MEAC):
Record: 1-11
Last Week: #29 (N/A)

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Don't fret Terps fans, Maryland is still in the driver's seat for a No. 1 seed

Don't fret Terps fans, Maryland is still in the driver's seat for a No. 1 seed

Maryland missed a golden opportunity on Sunday to rise to the No. 1 seed conversation for the NCAA Tournament. But despite losing after being in a prime position, they still are the best team capable of earning the final top seed in March. 

Three of the then-projected No. 1 seeds by ESPN's Joe Lunardi lost on Saturday. Baylor lost to a fellow No. 1 seed Kansas, but Gonzaga and San Diego State both lost to teams outside of the AP Top 25. And in San Diego State's case, a team that isn't making the NCAA Tournament. 

It was a prime situation for Maryland to rise from the No. 2 line that they have been strapped to all season long. Alas, they fell on the road to Ohio State to pause the conversation for the time being - albeit in a loss that was not without some controversy

The loss, however, does not permanently remove the Terrapins from becoming a No. 1 seed. In fact, Maryland is in the driver's seat for the final No. 1 seed currently occupied by San Diego State. 

Kansas, Baylor and Gonzaga are untouchable for Maryland unless one of those teams fall down the stretch. Kansas has 11 Quadrant 1 victories, Baylor is 10-1 in Q1 chances and 6-0 in those on the road and Gonzaga is 22-0 in non-Q1 chances. No one is passing one of those three based on that alone.

The final spot is open. SDSU, Maryland, Duke, Dayton and Florida State are the last remaining teams in consideration for the final No. 1 seed. A crowded field to say the least.

None of them have what Maryland has though: four Q1 opportunities left on their regular-season schedule. 

SDSU has none, Duke and Dayton have one, while Florida State has two after beating Louisville on Monday evening.

IF the committee regards Quadrant 1 wins as much as the NET rankings claim, then logic dictates that Maryland has the best opportunity to take that spot. Quadrant 1 games are defined as a home game against an opponent ranked 1-30 in the NET, a neutral site opponent from 1-50 or a road opponent from 1-75.

Before losing to Ohio State, Lunardi said that Maryland "would [ascend] to the No. 1 seed" with a win over the Buckeyes. That would slide the Aztecs to the No. 2 seed line. And losing to Ohio State is just another Q1 loss. Of all the losses from the top teams last week, including Duke's loss to NC State, Maryland's was the second-best in the eyes of metrics. They really shouldn't be hurt from that loss whatsoever. 

On top of those four regular-season games, the Terrapins would likely get at least two more Q1 chances in the Big Ten Tournament in the semifinals and the championship game, assuming they kept winning. But all of this hinges on continuing to win down the stretch. 

Maryland would have a better resume than any team that wins the ACC (Duke, Florida State or Louisville) and definitely better wins than either Dayton or San Diego State. 

The opportunity for a No. 1 seed is still there, now they can just focus on themselves. 

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Maryland keeps top-10 spot in latest AP poll despite loss to Ohio State

Maryland keeps top-10 spot in latest AP poll despite loss to Ohio State

For the first time since Jan. 14, the Maryland men's basketball team lost on Sunday, ending their nine-game winning streak.

But despite the loss to Ohio State in Columbus, the Terrapins did not dip much in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll.

The Terps (22-5, 12-4 Big Ten) fell two spots from No. 7 to No. 9 and remain the highest-ranked team in the conference. With just four regular-season conference games remaining, Maryland holds a two-game conference lead over Penn State and Iowa.

Earlier in the week, the Terps defeated Northwestern at home, 76-67.

Maryland has a tough schedule this upcoming week, as they travel to Minnesota on Wednesday before returning home to host No. 24 Michigan State on Saturday. College Gameday will be in College Park for the contest against the Spartans, the first time the show has come to Maryland since 2005.

Here's the rest of the latest AP Poll.

1. Kansas
2. Baylor
3. Gonzaga
4. Dayton
5. San Diego State
6. Florida State
7. Duke
8. Kentucky
9. Maryland
10. Creighton
11. Louisville
12. Villanova
13. Seton Hall
14. Oregon
15. Auburn
16. Penn State
17. BYU
18. Iowa
19. Michigan
20. West Virginia
21. Colorado
22. Texas Tech
23. Ohio State
24. Michigan State
25. Houston

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