NCAA

Richmond Spiders lose leading scorer Blake Francis for 4-6 weeks

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Richmond Spiders lose leading scorer Blake Francis for 4-6 weeks

Richmond Spiders' Blake Francis will miss four to six weeks after fracturing his sternum, the team announced on Thursday.

The injury occurred at the end of the Spiders' contest against Saint Louis on Jan. 11. Francis fell to the floor to save a loose ball when opposing Bilikins dove onto a dogpile to recover the possession themselves. 

If Francis is out for the full six weeks, he would return during the final week of the regular season. It would give the guard a tuneup game before they play in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. 

The loss of Francis for the majority of the Atlantic 10 conference season cannot be overstated. A transfer from Wagner, Francis is the No. 2 guard in the Spiders lineup and putting out 17 points a game. Immediately he had an impact for the Spiders and was named a starter for his first game in Richmond. 

His scoring threat has allowed other stars Jacob Gilyard and Grant Golden to flourish. An aspect of the offense that was missing last year. 

At 13-4, the Spiders were still in NCAA Tournament consideration before the injury. They have one of the better records in the league and tough road victories at Rhode Island and Davidson to their credit. However, there is no wiggle room for the Spiders and they probably cannot afford another loss to anyone not named Dayton or VCU. 

Without Francis, they'll have to supplement the offense elsewhere if they want any chance to return to the big dance in March. 

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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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