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Mid-Atlantic College Hoops Power Rankings: Several teams in contention for an NCAA bid

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Mid-Atlantic College Hoops Power Rankings: Several teams in contention for an NCAA bid

College basketball season is less than a month away from conference tournaments, and with it NCAA Tournament bids. 

This is a great time to see how the local landscape is doing and which teams potentially could make some noise on Selection Sunday. 

The typical players are at the forefront; Virginia is one of the top teams in the land and Maryland is back in the national conversation. However, the rest of the Commonwealth is in good hands. There is a good possibility that eight teams from the state of Virginia could be dancing in March. 

Below are all the teams, ranked from the Mid-Atlantic area (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC) that have a chance to make it to the big dance. 

1. Virginia (20-1, 8-1 ACC)

This is not last year's Virginia Cavaliers team. They are better. 

DeAndre Hunter, Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy all bring home 10 points apiece every night. Their offense is now middle of the pack in the country, while their defense remains No. 1.

2. Virginia Tech (18-4, 7-3 ACC)

The Hokies brought back so much experience from last year's squad and will be making it back to the NCAA Tournament for the third season in a row. 

Doing an outstanding job in nonconference play (11-1), Virginia Tech emerged as one of the nation's serious contenders. And if they keep their head above water in the packed ACC, the Hokies will really prove how talented they are. 

3. Maryland (18-6, 9-4 Big Ten)

Maryland is finally living up to expectations, minus their obscure loss to Illinois at a neutral court (which might not be that bad of a loss anymore). With the Big Ten having another poor showing as a conference, the Terps are rising to the occasion. 

Bruno Fernando staying was the best thing to happen to the Terps this season. He's been fantastic averaging a double-double on the season and allowing the team to be run an inside-out offense when need be. 

They can win in multiple different ways, the good sign for a tournament team. 

4. VCU (16-6, 7-2 Atlantic 10)

As the first bubble team in these rankings, VCU is reclaiming their identity as a defensive squad. Unfortunately for them, though, they are having to rely on their nonconference resume with the Atlantic 10 having a down season. 

Their best win from noncon is turning out to be over Hofstra, but to counter they also had an inexpiable home loss to Charleston. There's not much there in a resume for VCU, but they are a team that collectively will be better than several NCAA Tournament teams.  

5. Georgetown (15-8, 5-5 Big East)

Could the Hoyas sneak their way into an NCAA Tournament bid? They're currently tied for third  in the Big East and recently  nabbed a decent road win at St. John's. 

Can the legend of Mac McClung keep the team chugging to the end of the season?

6. Liberty (20-5, 9-1 Atlantic Sun)

All the metric systems are rewarding the Flames for their season so far. Liberty is ranked 61st on KenPom and 55th in the NET Rankings. Three of their five losses have been to teams from the top six conferences. But, there is no way the committee is going to give the A-Sun two teams in the NCAA Tournament. Liberty has to win the A-Sun title in their first season with the conference. 

7. George Mason (13-10, 7-3 Atlantic 10)

Take away the 0-3 start (losses to Penn, American and Georgia Southern) and the Patriots don't actually have a bad record. But those games still count and will prevent the team from an at-large bid in any postseason tournament. 

However, they've greatly increased their defense which could propel the team to contention in for the A-10 title. 

8. Old Dominion (19-6, 9-3 Conference USA)

The Monarchs are an intriguing team and sit atop their conference. They are right on their way to returning to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since they were in the CAA.

Notable wins for them this season include VCU and Syracuse. But, they have to win their conference to get in. 

9. Radford (17-7, 9-1 Big South)

Remember these guys? They had two big upsets during the nonconference season over Notre Dame and Texas. They are another team with a tough defense that could provide a mismatch against some of the top teams in the country. Three of their starters are from last year's NCAA Tournament and Big South championship team, and are looking to do it all again.

10. UMBC (14-10, 6-3 America East)

Early on in the year everyone's favorite Cinderella team was struggling. But as of late, the Retrievers have turned it around. They've won five of their last six contests with two of those victories coming over the top two teams in the America East. 

And we all know they love the underdog story. 

11. Norfolk State (13-10, 8-0 MEAC)

The Spartans are running away with the MEAC. With a big presence in the paint no other team has had an answer. However, based on how the MEAC Tournament is set up though, and some close wins, they probably won't win the conference title. 

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Week 3: Ugly games lead to ugly wins and losses

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Week 3: Ugly games lead to ugly wins and losses

There's no way to sugarcoat it, Week 3 was an ugly one with a lot of ugly football games being played. Penn State defeated rival Pitt thanks to questionable playcalling, Maryland lost one of the most bizarre games ever played, Virginia Tech rallied from a double-digit deficit against FCS Furman and Virginia squeaked out a win in a penalty-filled slugfest with Florida State.

Here's a recap of the week's action.

Penn State 17, Pitt 10

The good: Journey Brown

The Nittany Lions finished with 167 rushing and 389 total yards. Brown accounted for 109 of those rushing yards alone.

The bad: The offensive line

Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford completed only 14 of his 30 passes as he faced relentless pressure from the Pitt defense that the offensive line struggled to keep contained. The Panthers sacked Clifford three times and hurried him on several other plays 

The ugly: Pitt not going for the touchdown in the fourth quarter

This is the story of the game.

Pitt trailed 17-10  with the ball at Penn State's 1-yard line and less than five minutes on the clock. Instead of going for the game-tying touchdown, the Panthers lined up to kick a chip-shot field goal which kicker Alex Kessman ultimately missed. Afterward head coach Patt Narduzzi tried to justify the call saying the team needed two scores to win the game "unless you guys are playing for overtime."

Yes, somehow Narduzzi tried to claim going for the field goal instead of the touchdown was actually the bolder move.

If Narduzzi is scoffing at the notion of playing for overtime, then score the touchdown and go for two instead of the extra point. The fact is, the Panthers started that drive needing a touchdown. Even if they had made the field goal, the next time they got the ball, if at all, they would still need a touchdown. The problem was not that Pitt missed the field goal, it's that they should not have been trying to kick it at all. The Panthers were on the road playing a fierce and highly ranked Penn State team in the last game between these two rivals for the foreseeable future and Narduzzi went as conservative as possible. This game deserved bolder action from Narduzzi.

Temple 20, Maryland 17

The good: Anthony McFarland

The Terps are loaded with a strong running back core and McFarland has established himself as the dominant force through which this offense runs. He had 26 carries for 132 yards and a touchdown against Temple, as he tried to carry a sputtering offense to the win.

The bad: The playcalling

Going for it on fourth and goal from the 1-yard line in the first quarter? I get it. The Terps' strength is their rushing game, you want to be aggressive and push the Owls around up the middle, fine. But when you do that and then attempt a fake field goal on the very next drive, it came off as desperate. The score was 7-2 in the second quarter. There was no need for the Terps to chose points at that moment in the game and it cost them. Three extra points for Maryland certainly would have been significant in this game.

The ugly: Everything

Unless you watched, I am not sure it is possible to describe this game in a way that can adequately capture how unbelievably ugly and crazy it truly was.

This game featured a muffed punt, a goal-line stand, a safety off a bad snap on a punt, a fake field goal, a missed field goal, an interception negated by a penalty, seven Maryland players failing to pick up a fumble, a defensive holding call on third down which ultimately led to the go-ahead touchdown, a punt return to the 4-yard line that led to a second goal-line stand and seven-yard punt that gave Maryland one final opportunity to win the game .

Virginia Tech 24, Furman 17

The good: Tre Turner's second half

Down 14-3 at halftime to an FCS opponent, the Hokies needed someone to step up and take back control of the game. Turner scored a pair of touchdowns in the second half which took a 14-10 deficit and put the Hokies up 24-14.

The wide receiver proved a versatile weapon on Saturday with five carries for 68 yards on the ground and four catches for 29 yards.

The bad: Turnovers

Virginia Tech simply cannot hold onto the football. The Hokies entered Saturday's game tied for last among all FBS programs in turnover margin. Furman turned the ball over twice, but so did Virginia Tech which now has eight total turnovers through the first three games of the season.

The ugly: The first half

There was outright panic in Blacksburg after the first half as Furman took a 14-3 lead into halftime. That's not supposed to happen against an FCS opponent.

Virginia Tech had only 107 yards of offense in the first half with one made field goal, one missed field goal, two punts and two turnovers.

Navy 42, East Carolina 10

The good: Malcolm Perry's six touchdowns

Perry ran for four touchdowns on the ground and threw for another two touchdowns for six total scores. Six is the most a single player has scored for Navy since Keenan Reynolds scored six on Nov. 15, 2014.

The bad: Three wins

Navy is 2-0 on the season, already pulling them within one win of last year's total of three. Their dominance in the early season is a reflection of how much this team hasa improved and is ready to put an ugly 2018 behind them.

The ugly: The pass attack

Who would have thought you would be reading about the passing offense from Navy? If you can't even keep the Midshipmen from passing, it is going to be a long day for you. That proved true for ECU on Saturday.

Perry completed five of seven passes on Saturday for 151 yards and two touchdowns showing a different dimension of the Navy offense most would have assumed they did not have.

Virginia 31, Florida State 24

The good: Bryce Perkins

Florida State linebacker Leonard Warner said earlier in the week of Perkins, “I don’t think we are going to have too much trouble with him. We have a good game plan built up. I think we have pretty good plan for controlling him.”

Perkins ended up throwing for 295 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 46 yards. He did throw two picks, but he also had perhaps the play of the game.

When Virginia scored the go-ahead touchdown with 2:34 remaining in the game, they lined up to go for 2. Left with no one to pass to, Perkin danced around in the backfield desperately trying to find an open receiver. He stepped into the pocket, retreated back, scrambled right, put on the breaks and turned back left, set to throw, pulled the ball in again, then turned the corner on the defense to the left and knifed through the stunned defense into the end zone.

The bad: A missed extra point

A one-yard touchdown run from Taulapapa pulled UVa within one at 24-23 with just over six minutes left to play. Brian Delaney stepped up for the extra point...and missed. At the time, given how much time was left in the game, it felt like a significant blunder for Virginia. Luckily for the Cavaliers, it did not end up costing them.

The ugly: Penalties

Just about everything is going wrong for Florida State in the Willie Taggart era, but one issue that was staggering on Saturday was the Seminoles' total lack of discipline. Florida State was flagged 10 times for 83 yards in this game including four fourth-quarter flags. Two of those flags were personal fouls.

As undisciplined as the Seminoles looked in the fourth, Virginia was just as bad with four penalties late in the game, all of which came with less than three minutes remaining to give Florida State a chance to tie the game.

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The 5 ugliest moments from Maryland's loss to Temple

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The 5 ugliest moments from Maryland's loss to Temple

Saturday's Maryland-Temple game featured an interception, a muffed punt, a goal-line stand, a safety, a failed fake field goal and a missed field goal...just in the first half of a game that will undoubtedly go down as one of the craziest of the season. Temple begged Maryland to win this game. They tried to give it away over and over again, but the Terps weren't biting.

To say Maryland’s 20-17 loss to Temple was an ugly game does not adequately convey how horrendous this contest was. The game of football was set back several years, and it may never recover from what the Terps and Owls did to it on Saturday.

There were too many brutal standouts in this game to mention. but here are the five ugliest moments that led to Maryland’s first loss of the season.

A first-quarter goal-line stand

The Terps were in business early in the first when Antoine Brooks recovered a muffed punt at the Owls’ 19-yard line. Four plays later, Maryland got the ball down to the Temple 1. On fourth down, Mike Locksley rolled the dice...and the Terps got stuffed.


The slowest fake field goal ever

A bad snap on a Temple punt put Maryland on the board with a safety. Trailing 7-2 in the second quarter, the Terps elected to try the slowest fake field goal you have ever seen. You can guess how that turned out.

At this point, you realized we were in for something special with this game. Going for it on fourth down on the goal line is one thing, but you add that to this fake field goal and it sure felt like the Terps were playing desperately. Why would a team with the top-scoring offense in the nation through two weeks decide to play as if they would never score again? Good question.

Maryland gets the lead...and loses it in one play

OK, so that first half was bad, but surely the Terps would rebound in the second half and take control, right?

Not so much.

Anthony McFarland gave Maryland its first lead of the game in the third quarter with a four-yard touchdown run. That lead lasted one play.

Literally, one. Here’s what happened on the first play from scrimmage after the kickoff.


No one can recover a fumble

If you want to encapsulate how bananas this game was in one play, this would be it.

Temple running back Jager Gardner busted a big 15-yard run, but fumbled the ball...and then things got nuts.

Maryland did end up recovering the fumble, but instead of getting it at the 40 like they should have, they ended up finally controlling the ball at the 26, losing 14 yards because no one was able to just fall on the ball like they were taught in peewee football.

Maryland gives Temple 1st and goal and the go-ahead touchdown off a 3rd down defensive holding

Somehow the Terps retook the lead because, as I mentioned, Temple really did not want to win this game. Clinging to a 15-13 lead, Maryland came up with a big defensive stand on third down at their own 16 by forcing an incomplete pass. But a flag was thrown on the play and, to no one's surprise, it was on Maryland.

That was just the kind of game this was.

Cornerback Tino Ellis was called for defensive holding, which gave Temple an automatic first down at the 8-yard line.

Instead of fourth and 14 for a team that had trouble on special teams all day long, the Terps gave up the first down and, two players later, the go-ahead touchdown.

Maryland walks away with zero points after getting first and goal twice in the fourth quarter

There was life for the Terps late in the fourth as D.J. Turner returned a punt 55 yards all the way down to Temple 4. Surely the Terps, the top scoring offense in the nation, would be able to get four yards in four plays, right?

Clearly you have not been paying attention.

Maryland got the ball down to the one and on fourth and one, elected to go for it again. Again, they were stuffed.

The issue here was that the offensive line forgot they were supposed to block. That is a significant part of the job of an offensive line. Temple was in the backfield almost instantly.

Because Temple really, really did not want to win this game, however, they gave Maryland one more chance. Owls punter Adam Barry unleashed a seven-yard punt (you read that right, seven yards) that gave the Terps the ball back at the 10. Four plays later, Maryland once again failed to score. In fact, they actually lost two yards overall thanks to a false start penalty.

Woof. This is one of those games where you just burn the tape and move on.

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