NCAA

Six DMV teams featured in Joe Lunardi's latest bracketology

Six DMV teams featured in Joe Lunardi's latest bracketology

BY TYLER BYRUM

Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Maryland are no brainers that if they keep up the pace that each team is on, they will be dancing in the NCAA tournament come March. In Joe Lunardi's latest bracketology (released on Jan. 19), he has also included three other DMV teams, two hailing from the Atlantic 10, Richmond and VCU, and Morgan State

All six are contenders for their respective conference championship, but according to Lunardi, only Richmond and Morgan State from the list of six would need to win the automatic berth to make the big dance. Every team has a different reason to be in the tournament and it is looking more likely than not that at least five of these teams will be able to maintain their standing. 

If all six can make it another month an a half, it will surpass last season's four teams (Maryland, VCU, Virginia, and Hampton) to make the tournament.

Virginia (#4 seed, ACC):

The Cavaliers (14-3, 4-2) not only have the benefit of being in the best conference in college basketball, but also have made quite a name for themselves the past handful of seasons. With no losses to sub-50 RPI teams, No. 16 Virginia is a near lock to be in the NCAA tournament, barring a huge end of season collapse. In the ACC, they sit at fourth in the conference standings, where it is anticipated that a total of 11 teams in that conference will be in the tournament.

Maryland (#7 seed, Big Ten): 

Quietly the No. 25 Terrapins are becoming one of the best team's in the country after there was some skepticism to start the season. Maryland (16-2, 4-1) has taken advantage of their moderate schedule and has seven top-100 RPI wins, but so far lack the signature win that solidly puts the team in the tournament. Next week the team will get into the heat of conference play where for the remainder of the season will have home and aways against Minnesota, Ohio State, and road games in Wisconsin and Northwestern. A key for the Terps going forward will to continue to win the games they are supposed to win and hopefully squeak one out against the aforementioned teams. 

Virginia Tech (#10 seed, ACC):

Another benefactor of the dominant ACC, Virginia Tech appears to be on track for their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2007 when they lost in the second round. Winning all the games the Hokies (14-4, 3-3) were supposed to win in the first half of the season, and then pulling out a shocker at home against then No. 5 Duke, Virginia Tech is looking solid at this point in the season. The team still has a loaded ACC schedule to get through, including two games against Virginia and a road trip to Chapel Hill, but if the team can finish at or above .500 in conference play they should remain in. Enough has been done early on to prove the team's worth. 

Richmond (#14 seed, Atlantic 10):

The Spiders (11-6, 5-0) do not have a strong at-large resume. Earlier in the year the team had a terrible loss to Oral Roberts, currently at 228 in the national RPI, and did not get a big win to combat the loss. In fact the program's best out-of-conference win this season was over Boston College, which stands at a 165 RPI. Since though, the team has gotten hot in Atlantic 10 play winning five straight and four of those wins being their best on the season. The team does not necessarily have to win the conference championship to make the tournament, but need to continue their stretch in conference and get a couple wins against the top teams, Dayton, Rhode Island, and VCU. 

VCU (#11 seed, Atlantic 10):

Listed as on of the 'last four in,' VCU (14-5, 4-2) took a big hit in their NCAA aspirations after a devastating buzzer-beater loss to Fordham on Wednesday. Their best win is at home against Middle Tennessee, but fell short against Baylor, Illinois, and Georgia Tech to gather another strong victory. Last week the team was looking like a near lock to the big dance, but back-to-back sub-100 RPI losses has the team's outlook for the rest of the season uncertain. If the Rams can avoid anymore upsets, they should remain on the good side of the bubble at the end of the year.

Morgan State (#16 seed, MEAC):

There is no possible way for the Bears (7-10, 4-0) to make it without winning the MEAC championship and even that will be a tall task for this team. From their undefeated conference record, none of the wins came against one of the conference's top five programs. It does not appear likely they will still be on this list a week from now, but a team to keep an eye one once the conference tournament comes around for an automatic berth.

Other possible tournament teams:

From an at-large bid perspective, no other team's in Virginia, Maryland, or Washington D.C. are within striking range. With the strength of their respective conferences, George Washington, Georgetown, and George Mason have outside shots if they were to run the table, or come close to it, and get in the bubble conversation. For all teams though, that seems highly unlikely.

Two other schools have the best chance of making the list seven or eight teams with UMBC and Old Dominion possibly winning their conference championship, the America East, and Conference USA respectively.

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Maryland, Virginia and VCU ranked in college basketball Preseason AP Top 25 Poll

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Maryland, Virginia and VCU ranked in college basketball Preseason AP Top 25 Poll

For the first time since the start of the 2015 season, the Maryland Terrapins men's basketball team is ranked in the Associated Press' Preseason Top 25 poll. 

Fresh off of a Second Round appearance in the NCAA Tournament last season, Mark Turgeon's squad will start the year ranked seventh in the country. 

Aside from losing Bruno Fernando to the NBA Draft, the team will be one of the most experienced in the NCAA. Everyone other notable player returns on the Terps roster. The team will be led by 2020 Cousy Award Watch Listee Anthony Cowan Jr. 

They'll be in a loaded Big Ten conference as they are one of four teams to make it into the Top 25. Michigan State, who made it to the 2019 Final Four is the top-ranked program. 

The defending National Champions, the Virginia Cavaliers, will start their title defense ranked No. 11 in the poll. They lost a huge crop of their championship team as DeAndre Hunter, Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy all were drafted into the NBA. Tony Bennett, however, still has several quality contributors that know how to run his style on the court.

One other Mid-Atlantic team was noted in the Preseason Poll. VCU from the Atlantic Ten nabbed the last spot at No. 25. Last year they returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time under head coach Mike Rhoades. They welcome back their leading scorer from that campaign and Atlantic 10 First-Team selection Marcus Evans.

2019 AP Preseason Top 25 Poll

Team, 2018-19 record (first-place votes)

#1 Michigan State, 32-7 (60)
#2 Kentucky, 30-7 (2)
#3 Kansas, 26-10 (3)
#4 Duke, 32-6
#5 Louisville, 20-14
#6 Florida, 20-16
#7 Maryland, 23-11
#8 Gonzaga, 33-4
#9 North Carolina, 29-7
#10 Villanova, 26-10
#11 Virginia, 35-3
#12 Seton Hall, 20-14
#13 Texas Tech, 31-7
#14 Memphis, 22-14
#15 Oregon, 25-13
#16 Baylor, 20-14
#17 Utah State, 28-7
#18 Ohio State, 20-15
#19 Xavier, 19-16
#20 Saint Mary's (CA), 22-12
#21 Arizona, 17-15
#22 LSU, 28-7
#23 Purdue, 26-10
#24 Auburn, 30-10
#25 VCU, 25-8

Others receiving votes: Washington 164, Colorado 152, Tennessee 78, Marquette 68, Florida St. 36, Davidson 34, Harvard 24, Illinois 14, Missouri 13, Mississippi St. 12, Houston 11, Georgia 11, Cincinnati 8, Notre Dame 7, Creighton 4, Syracuse 3, NC State 3, Vermont 2, Alabama 2, Southern Cal 2, Liberty 2, Michigan 2, Dayton 1, Colgate 1, Providence 1.

The 2019-20 men's basketball season tips off on Tuesday, Nov. 5. Two of the opening night premiere matchups will be No. 3 Kansas vs. No. 4 Duke and No. 1 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Kentucky. 

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The 9 craziest things that happened in Week 8 of the college football season

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The 9 craziest things that happened in Week 8 of the college football season

Illinois ruined next week's undefeated matchup between Wisconsin and Ohio State with the biggest upset of the year, a football game turned into a dance-off, Virginia Tech won a six-overtime thriller and Louisville is still insane.

Here are the six craziest things that happened in Week 8 of the college football season.

31-point underdog Illinois upsets Wisconsin

Were you looking ahead to a game of unbeatens between Ohio State and Wisconsin? Well, I've got some bad news....

Wisconsin entered Saturday's game in Champaign 6-0. Four of those six wins were shutouts. The defense had only allowed 29 combined for the season. Illinois entered the game as a 31-point underdog and yet, the Fightin' Illini pulled off the biggest upset of the season with a field goal as time expired for the 24-23 win.

What the heck happened on that Tennessee goal-line play?

The fact that Tennessee lost to Alabama isn't crazy. The Crimson Tide have now won 13 straight so it would have been crazy had Alabama not won. What was lost in the win and all the injury news on Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was a goal-line play by Tennessee that went horrifically wrong in what was still a close game.

Trailing 28-13 in the fourth quarter, Tennesse lined up for a 4th and goal from Alabama's 1-yard line. Then this happened.

Quarterback Jarrett Guarantano fumbled the ball and Trevon Diggs returned it all the way down the field to turn what could have been a one-possession game into a three-possession game.

Unfortunate play? No, it goes beyond that.

There's a lot going on with that offensive line. It looks like the guard pulls which would never happen on a quarterback sneak. Guarantano doesn't come close to getting into the end zone and he gets smacked backward. We will never know exactly what happened on that play, whether he called the wrong play or there was a different run called and he decided to try to sneak it in himself. Head coach Jeremy Pruitt, however, was pissed and met his quarterback on the field so he could yell at him and grab his face mask. He said after the game he was mad because Guarantano tried to go over the top instead of trying to push his way through the middle, but again...the guard pulls so...?

Seven players ejected after a dance-off

Things got pretty heated in Saturday's game between Coastal Carolina and Georgia Southern. How heated you ask? Well between the third and fourth quarters both teams had to be separated because...a dance-off broke out!

No, this is not the script for a Footloose sequel, this actually happened.

In the most intense dance-off since West Side Story, both teams began dancing on the field when the song "Mo Bamba" played over the loudspeakers. 

Unfortunately, the referees apparently have no love for the art of dance so they gave every single player a penalty which resulted in seven players getting ejected.

Kansas almost beat Texas because a Tom Herman quote was taken out of context

Texas needed a field goal as time expired to beat Kansas on Saturday which would probably be weird enough to warrant landing on this list on its own. What really made things weird was why this game was so close.

After the game, several quotes came out of Kansas players saying they were motivated by disrespectful comments Texas head coach Tom Herman made at his Monday weekly press conference. When asked about Kansas, Herman said, "We actually play a game this week?"

OK, you can see why Kansas players would be upset...until you hear the context of the quote.

Herman was not asked a single question about Kansas during his press conference until it was almost 17 minutes in. His remark seemed aimed at the writers for not bringing up that week's game sooner, but I guess Les Miles and his coaches decided the Kansas players did not need to know that part.

The Sooner Schooner crashed

This is one of those stories that is only funny because everyone was OK.

The Sooner Schooner comes out onto the field at Oklahoma to celebrate Sooner touchdowns. In the second quarter, however, things went awry as the Schooner tipped over when making too sharp a turn.

As mentioned above, the school sent out a Twitter update saying no one was injured.

This is actually not the first time this has happened as the Schooner toppled over 26 years ago in a game against Colorado as well.

Louisville needs to chill, part 2

Last week we were all introduced to Louisville defensive line coach Mark Ivey who got bloodied during some intense warmups.

Evidently, he is not the only insane intense coach on the staff. This is just a thing at Louisville.

Here you can see the Cardinals getting pumped up by several coaches including the quality control coach. Because how could you not get pumped up by a rousing speech from the quality control coach?

Louisville lost by 35.

The worst fake punt ever?

When you're looking at the possibility of losing your 15th straight conference game, you get desperate. Arkansas certainly must have been desperate when it dialed up perhaps the worst fake punt in the history of college football.

A six overtime game

Virginia Tech and North Carolina fought through six overtimes before the Hokies finally emerged victorious and that's fine because six overtimes are still better than a tie. This marathon game gave us our first look at the new overtime rules in which each team gets a two-point conversion try starting in the fifth overtime instead of going series after series after series. The best part about this is that it mercifully took special teams out of the equation which is good because both teams had already missed two field goals in overtime.

Air Force gets a bizarre pick-6

Late in the fourth quarter, Hawaii quarterback Cole McDonald dropped back to pass. Air Force safety Grant Theil read the play perfectly and jumped a route to get his hands on the football. He could not come up with the catch and the ball bounced out of his hands when he hit the ground. It bounced off his hip, rolled to his knee and his leg kicked it up in the air and right into the hands of teammate Milton Bugg. The ball never touched the ground and Bugg proceeded to run it 92 yards for the touchdown.