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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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Notre Dame at Wake Forest: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Notre Dame at Wake Forest: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Fighting Irish (18-10, 9-8) ride a three-game winning streak into Winston-Salem for a matchup against the Demon Deacons (12-15, 5-12) on Saturday afternoon.

Mike Brey's squad has been rolling as of late, collecting three straight conference wins with victories over Boston College, Miami, and UNC.

The Irish take on a Wake Forest squad that pulled-off an incredible upset win over (7) Duke on Tuesday night, taking down the Blue Devils 113-101. The Demon Deacons were led by their seven-foot junior, Olivier Sarr, who scored 25 points in just 30 minutes of play.

Here's everything you need to know before the two conference rivals square off on NBC Sports Washington.

Notre Dame at Wake Forest: How to Watch

Who: Notre Dame Fighting Irish (18-10, 9-8) vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (12-15, 5-12)
What: ACC basketball on NBC Sports Washington
When: Saturday, February 29, 4 p.m. ET 
Where: Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Winston-Salem, NC
TV Channel: You can watch Notre Dame at Wake Forest on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder).

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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An impressive record still has the Liberty Flames in a must-win spot to make March Madness

An impressive record still has the Liberty Flames in a must-win spot to make March Madness

When one looks at the best records in college basketball, the first teams that come to mind are the ones around the No. 1 seed conversation: Gonzaga, San Diego State, Dayton, Kansas, etc. One team that is a surprising outlier? The Liberty Flames. 

Liberty has quietly amassed a 27-3 record for the 5th best record in college basketball as of this writing.  They’ve rolled through their season with their only losses coming on the road at LSU, North Florida and Stetson. 

But in the Atlantic Sun, they have struggled to put together a quality resume that would give them a favorable seed in the NCAA Tournament. While the win total is impressive, a small number are considered relatively good. Only two games are rated as a Quadrant 1 or 2 opportunity – where they went 1-1 – the remaining 25 are in Q3 and Q4. 

When the NCAA eliminated the RPI as a metric to determine the NCAA Tournament field, the Quadrant system was implemented to rank the quality of games based on the opponent and where the game was played. And in the committee’s eyes, Liberty does not meet the standards to solidly be in the NCAA Tournament. 

Bracketologists are unified though in their analysis of the Flames. They’re one of the best teams from a single-bid conference and are currently on the No. 12 seed line. With that being the current positioning of the bubble, many teams will have an interest in how the Flames finish the season. 

Liberty will instantly pop in the bubble conversation if they lose in the Atlantic Sun Tournament. Likely, they probably won’t make it to the big dance if they get another loss to an Atlantic Sun team. But it will make other teams sweat for the final two weeks. To solidify their spot in the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row, Liberty will have to win the A-Sun tournament.

They run a style similar to Virginia. A focus on defensive effort and limited possessions for the opposition. Their offense is balanced more efficiently than last season as they have three scorers averaging more than 10 points a game. 

They don’t match up well against many teams in the country. Last year they proved it by upsetting Mississippi State in a No. 5 vs. No. 12 contest. Power 5 teams won’t want to see this team on their side of the bracket this year either. 

It's not out of the question that the Flames could lose somewhere in their conference tournament. If they do, they'll have an automatic qualifier for the NIT. 

Liberty Flames Resume

Record: 27-3 
NET: 47
KenPom: 57
BPI: 40
Average Seed: 12
Q1 Record: 0-1
Q2 Record: 1-0
Q3 Record: 4-1
Q4 Record: 20-1
Best win: Akron -neutral site (NET: 79)
Worst loss: @ Stetson (NET: 304)
Remaining Schedule: Atlantic Sun Tournament

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