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College Basketball: Maryland Virginia, Virginia Tech North Carolina State, ACC struggles and more college basketball

Eric Prisbell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 11, 2010; 11:30 AM

Washington Post college sports writer and The 65 blogger Eric Prisbell was online Thursday, Feb. 11 to take your questions about the re-scheduled Maryland Virginia game, Virginia Tech North Carolina State, Georgetown's hit and miss dominance, the latest college basketball news and his latest blog posts on 65.

A transcript follows.

Follow Eric on his blogs: The 65 and Terrapins Insider, where he focuses on Maryland football.

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Eric Prisbell: Hello, everyone. I understand many of you may be outside shoveling after Blizzard II, but I thank all those who can join us today. Several local teams remain in the NCAA tournament hunt. Georgetown has a chance at a very high seed. So does West Virginia. Maryland and Virginia are put in a tough situation having to play three games in five days. Lots to talk about. Feel free to ask about anything, ask as many questions as you want. I promise I will get to every one.

And I encourage everyone to email me at prisbelle@washpost.com with comments/suggestions/etc. A little more than one month until selection Sunday. Ask away.

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Elmira, N.Y.: When is Prisbell going to grace us with his "expose of the dirt in the NCAA", shoe-company deals, AAU influence, etc.? After his hatchet job on U-Md. - probably one of the cleanest programs in the country - we were led to believe that this was the opening salvo in shining a light on the really dirty programs (see Big East) and the lackadaisical NCAA "oversight". We are still waiting ...

Eric Prisbell: Thanks for the question. I have actually been to Elmira to cover an event years and years ago. Not a bad place.

I don't think shoe-company deals or AAU influence is anything new, unless it has to do with Under Armour -- because they are a new player in the arena, or it has a new twist to it. I -- and we -- look for topics less obvious and more hard-hitting. They are out there, both locally and nationally. We are well aware of them. We're working on stories, but it would not be wise for me to say when something may run or elaborate on the topic. But I appreciate the interest because I really enjoy delving into these issues.

I don't think many people consider the three-part series, which I co-wrote with Steve Yanda, a "hatchet job." Most people in the recruiting world or in college basketball circles felt it was on point. I understand Maryland is one of the cleanest programs in the country. That was the point. It's become harder and harder to recruit the right way these days and still haul in an elite class. Now, Maryland can overcome that because Gary Williams is one of the best coaches in the country. But there have been significant recruiting shortcomings, some you can fault that on the staff turnover, some you can blame XXXX school and XXX coach for allegedly stealing XXXX and XXXX away from Maryland with promises of cash, jobs for family, funneling of money through foundations, etc.

What we have at Maryland is clear: One of the nation's best coaches has found it increasingly difficult to compete at the top level of the recruiting world, which has become far more corrupted by agents than AAU handlers the past few years. And still, Gary can compete for the ACC title (see this season). So please don't downgrade or diminish Gary as a coach. I don't think that is fair. But I appreciate your comment/question.

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Cincinnati: Given how the Terps have steadily improved this season, Maryland fans seem to agree that making it to the Sweet 16 is the revised goal for a highly successful season. But with their early season out of conference losses, gaining a No. 6 seed seems very difficult to obtain, much less a No. 4 or 5, making the path to the regionals very steep.

What do you think it would take for them to move up into the 4,5 range? Is a big signature win at Cameron this Saturday necessary, realistically speaking?

Eric Prisbell: Maryland can win at Duke -- no question. Maryland leads the ACC in shooting percentage and field goal percentage defense in ACC games -- this team is playing as well as any ACC team. I still take Duke to win a close one.

That said, I think Maryland is a solid 8 or 9 right now. It would help if FSU can get it together because that team represents both of Maryland's top 50 victories.

What can they do to get to a 4 of 5 seed? Tough question because the landscape shifts every day and it will remain fluid. But if you take a look at teams in line for 4 or 5 seeds now -- say Wake Forest or a Baylor. One difference is that those teams have three or four top 50 victories. But another I see is that those teams have seven or eight wins over top 100 teams. I do think this is an issue for Maryland, which has only won four games against top 100 competition.

Can Maryland get to a 5 seed with 11 ACC wins and a decent showing in the ACC tourney? Perhaps, but they do need a few more top 50 wins for that to happen. It's a little early to really get a firm grasp on what they would need to do to climb that high. But it's not out of the question by any means because of the strong opponents still left on the schedule.

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Odenton Md.: Univ of Md. chances of making the dance based on their play so far? Does James Padgett need to start contributing on the rebounding end so we can take it another level?

Eric Prisbell: Maryland has a good chance to make the NCAA tournament. Nine or 10 ACC wins should do it. I'm hesitant to be even more optimistic right now because this team has played three of the weakest ACC teams -- well, make the four of the weakest with UNC - in Miami, BC, NC State. But Maryland is blowing out people and nearly won at Wake Forest. I do think this team is legit.

I said before the season that they would have an outside chance at winning the league title and also a chance to go to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2003. This could be shaping up like that.

Anything Padgett can provide would be a bonus. Seems like Gary would like to get him some more action if possible. But I can't say enough about how impressed I have been with the progress of Jordan Williams. This league is loaded with strong front court talent, and he is able to hold his own as a freshman who came in a bit under the radar. That's one of the team's biggest story lines.

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Richmond, Va.: Connecticut has four road games and three homes games left. Among those games are West Virginia and Villanova. Like North Carolina they are going to have win the conference tournament to make the NCAA tourney, right?

Eric Prisbell: Well, even at 14-10, U-Conn.'s RPI is still 51. This team has played the third-toughest schedule in the country, and that matters to the committee. Just look at Arizona last season.

First, U-Conn. needs to get near .500 in Big East play. Second, the Huskies must win two or three true road games. They are 1-8 away from home and 0-6 in true road games. Real bad sign. Next, they have to beat at least two more top 50 teams, I would think. When you still play Nova and WVU, you can gain impressive wins in a hurry. Easier said than done, but given their position, and given the soft nature of the bubble right now, they could still make a run at an at-large bid. It would take a significant and unlikely turnaround.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Is this just a down year for the ACC, or is it part of a larger trend whereby the conference becomes less powerful?

The ACC isn't even the second best conference in the country right now.

Eric Prisbell: The top of the ACC is down.

I'd put the ACC behind the Big East, which could see four teams get top two seeds, the Big 12, which could have the national champ, and the Big Ten, which could have several teams make the Sweet 16.

I believe the Atlantic 10 has the same number of teams in the RPI's top 50 as the ACC. One reason has to do with noconference play. ACC teams did not do a whole lot before league play. Wake and Duke beat the Zags. But Duke's win over UConn does not look as strong now. That has a lot to do with teams establishing strong RPIs. Then in league play, other teams feed off that and it benefits everyone. The ACC could still get 6 or 7 teams into the NCAAs, but many won't be looking at great seeds.

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CAA hopefuls: I'm a longtime Mason fan, and though I don't think GMU win the CAA tournament, kudos to Jim Larranaga for an 11-3 conference mark with one of the youngest teams in the country. My question is this: for the CAA to get two bids, would the best scenario be ODU not winning the tourney? If ODU wins it, does Northeastern have an at-large shot (you mentioned previously that William and Mary has bad losses that offset wins at Wake and Maryland)? Thanks!

Eric Prisbell: Thanks for the question. The best chance for the CAA still to get two bids is for ODU to lose in the tournament final. ODU has a resume strong enough for inclusion, in my view. Wins over Georgetown and Charlotte are top 50 wins.

I just don't see good at-large chances for any of the other teams right now. Northeastern is a good team, but a win over Utah State -- and even a win over La. Tech --- is not going to be enough to impress the committee members.

That said, the race in the CAA is compelling and the league is very much underrated.

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Washington, DC: How is Duke still No. 7 in the country? Is there a rule in college basketball that an ACC team must be in the top 10 at all times?

Eric Prisbell: Well, I don't look at the AP poll much because the RPI matters a lot more in the selection process, etc. But Duke still has a good resume and has a good chance at a No. 2 seed. That doesn't mean they are going to the Final Four. I'll be surprised if I pick Duke to make the Sweet 16, but the resume is strong.

The ACC as a whole is fun and exciting to cover this season but less than stellar.

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Delray Beach, Fla.: Do you think Vasquez's trash-talking about "owning Cameron" last year hurt us, and do you think maybe he'll tone it down this year? And was it the Memphis game in the tourney when he talked a bunch of stuff about them not beating anyone?

At what point should Gary step in and stop that kind of stuff?

Eric Prisbell: That was a bit surprising that Greivis was say that about that talented of a Memphis team. But this is who he is. Take the good with the bad. And there is plenty good. I still remember than phenomenal game Greivis played down at Duke a few years ago. He's a senior. Maryland is fortunate he came back to school. He is not going to change now.

It will be interesting to see Vasquez, in his final game at Duke, manage his emotions and try to keep his poise. That is what Maryland will need to win this game. It's a battle of the top two teams in the ACC. Duke will be ready.

I'd love for Maryland to get another chance at Calipari in the second round of the NCAAs. Put 'em both in New Orleans and I'm set.

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Anonymous: Eric how many teams in the NCAA for the Colonial: I have William and Mary (2-0) against ACC and Old Dominion!

Eric Prisbell: I have two in right now, giving ODU an at-large berth. But if ODU wins the tournament title, the CAA could very well only get one team in.

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Washington, D.C.: Eric,

Let's look past Rutgers. After the dismantling of Villanova and Duke, what's your prediction for the Georgetown-Syracuse game? And how is Duke ranked ahead of Georgetown after we throttled them?

Eric Prisbell: I'll take Georgetown by a hair at home, given that they have already pounded Nova and Duke. But I can't say enough about how impressed I have been with Syracuse. It's a lot more than just Wes Johnson. I think I just saw a stat that said Syracuse has the highest field goal percentage since 91-92 Duke. Could that be right? Syracuse is very good, good enough to win the whole thing. I just don't think they are one-loss good. I think they'll lose again before the NCAAs.

I live the big three a lot on Georgetown -- and Monroe's passing has been a real pleasure to watch -- but fans have to be happy with Jason Clark as well.

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Herndon, Va.: I can finally watch a Nebraska basketball game without closing my eyes - as long as it's the women's team. If you want to talk to someone who has to have patience, find an NU fan who keeps up with the men's basketball team.

Eric Prisbell: I thought Doc Sadler would get it going out there. I dealt with him on numerous occasions during his JC days, and was glad to see they hired him. If I were you, I'd still be peeved about the refs putting a second back on the clock to help Texas kick a field goal and get to the national title game! They had the Longhorns beat!

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Nashville, Tenn.: Eric -

Louisville, U-Conn. and North Carolina - all either Elite Eight or Final Four teams last year.

Any of them make the Big Dance this year?

Eric Prisbell: I think Louisville may very well slip in -- I hate to go against Pitino.

Disappointing years for all three - especially UNC -- no question.

It's interesting that Pitino's offseason melodrama has not been more of an issue this season. But we live in the days of Tiger Woods, John Edwards, so what else is new, right?

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Carolina's blues: North Carolina's collapse, unfortunately, has put Roy Williams' very worst trait on public display: his cringe-inducing self-pity. Kansas fans don't miss that show one bit.

Who's your Final Four: Kansas, Syracuse... ??

Eric Prisbell: I agree with you. Well said.

I have Kansas, Kentucky, West Virginia, Purdue. That was my preseason Final Four. I need to find a team to cut and probably put the Cuse in there. Still thinking about it.

One sleeper I like more and more is Ohio State.

I agree with Jay Bilas and believe this season is much like 2006, wide open. Could be a crazy tournament with some Final Four surprises.

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RE: I'd put the ACC behind the Big East: You can't be serious, can you? The ACC is not a good conference this year. I know you cover the Terps and have to play up the conference, but no one is taking the ACC seriously. I think the ACC will be exposed, per usual, in the tournament.

Eric Prisbell: Yes, I am serious -- the ACC is not nearly as strong as the Big East.

The Big East is better. Four teams in the Big East rank in the top 8 in the RPI. That's strong.

Not sure an ACC team will make the Sweet 16. But I could see one or two making it, maybe even Maryland.

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Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.: Ever since last year's incredible meltdown by my Hoyas, I've been fearing the worst and trembling over a repetition this year. Yet in spite of having virtually no bench, they continue to outperform (at least when playing good teams). Is that other shoe still gonna drop, or has JTIII figured out how to make these guys work together harmoniously?

Eric Prisbell: The Providence win was a big one, because this team needs to show some consistency, especially at this point in the season. We know they can beat top 10 teams, and that is great.

I agree with JTIII in that this is a different team. The issue that rattled team chemistry last season is no longer there. This team is a Final Four contender.

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Storrs, Florida: That disgruntled Terp fan needs to appreciate that Gary Williams HAS WON A NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP without getting dirty.

I love what Jim Calhoun has done for us, but I also harbor no illusions, and every time something knuckleheaded happens, I love his team a little less. That's not implying anything specific, but at some point character matters.

Eric Prisbell: Character should matter, but every year in this sport I think it matters less and less. I have just seen a chance even since I started covering college hoops around 1997. And the recruiting scene has really surprised even me in recent years, and I've been around it for almost 15 years now. Just swarming with runners and agents. The AAU guys have turned into the good guys in some respects. Not all cases, but some. And there seems to be less oversight than ever before. That said, I can't wait for July again!

Yes, the fan who wrote at the start of the chat should be grateful that Gary is the coach, because when he chooses to leave, you won't be able to find a better game coach.

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Austin, Texas: Is Virginia Tech's strength of schedule going to haunt them? Looking at the RPIs, it appears that nobody above them in the rankings has a loser SOS than they do, and only 1 other team in the top-80 has a lower SOS.

Is this a problem, or not such a big deal once they finish conference play?

Eric Prisbell: Good question. Enjoy Austin. I almost went there this week for Texas-Kansas, but Blizzard II ruined the plans.

Virginia Tech's nonconference schedule ranks 340th. The selection committee will be well aware of that number when it convenes in the Westin in Indy next month. You can throw out about half of Tech's wins because they came against teams ranked 200th or worse. Can Tech overcome it? Yes, and it may. Ten ACC wins may be enough. It needs one or two more top 50 wins. I'll say, when I watch this team, I think they are NCAA material. But you just never know how the committee will view that 340th-ranked nonconference issue. One of the more interesting story lines to watch.

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Tyson's Corner, Va.: Eric - If Georgetown were to beat Syracuse next Thursday would that put them on the No. 1 line? Or would they need to win at WVU to get there?

Eric Prisbell: I would strongly consider it, and here is why: Georgetown has already played the nation's toughest schedule. And they have more wins against top 25 RPI teams than anyone in the country. I value those two components a lot. I'd have to see how soundly they beat Cuse -- if they do -- and I am not sure who I would drop. But I would consider it. If nothing else, they would be a very strong two seed amid three other strong two seeds.

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College Park, Md.: With all the nationally highly ranked high schools in the area, and the talent, why can't Maryland ever seem to get it's fair share? Georgetown doesn't seem to have any problem.

The ACC is sad from top to bottom this year.

Tuition is among the costliest for a state school and they're forcing professors to go without tenure, while Maryland's athletic programs cost several million dollars and the money they generate goes back into the programs, not the school itself. Their football program's a national embarrassment and after one glorious hoop's year Williams has failed miserably to build on the success.

Eric Prisbell: Thanks for the comment. We addressed some of the recruiting issues above, and we dedicated about 12000 words to the topic a years ago.

Yes, Maryland should have recruited better. But the Terps have at times been able to overcome it because the head coach is one of the best in the country. The team is not loaded with future pros, and yet it has a chance to win the league this season.

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Alexandria, Va.: Hi EP,

Why is it that The Post sports desk seems to be in the tank for Georgetown, but reports a bit more objectively or even negatively on Maryland and some of the other local schools? It seems that JTIII walks on water with the WaPo folks.

Eric Prisbell: I don't see it like that. We always attempt to cover all the schools with the same level of scrutiny and objectivity. We do have two writers covering Maryland because of the split with the football and basketball teams, so that is double the manpower. But we do our best to be comprehensive and fair.

But we have nothing against Maryland and are not in the tank for Georgetown. I have friends who have graduated both schools, but I'm not from this area and have no links to the schools.

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Raleigh: Hey Eric,

I am definitely excited about the Terps recent run. I think the senior maturity coupled with a legit inside presence in Jordan W has raised the ceiling for this year's team. I feel like the missing link is consistent bench play, specifically Tucker. Bowie has to be the first guard off the bench but do you think Gary will test Padgett a little more? To beat the elite teams in the country they may need that extra big man who can get off the floor. Thanks!

Eric Prisbell: That's a good point. I agree with you. And I think Gary wants to test James a little more. It would be a bonus for Maryland if he can give the Terps a few minutes here and there.

When you have talented guards and an experienced team overall in a league that is a little down, you have a chance to compete for the league title. With the help of a freshman big man in Williams, that is the recipe for Maryland this season.

This team is shooting so well right now, I really am eager to see what they can do at Duke.

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Glenelg, Md.: At this point, who deserves ACC Coach of the Year? I see it as a two horse race: Greenberg (Va. Tech) and Gary (U-Md.). Both coaches have done a great job this year but I'd have to go with Greenberg. After losing Vassallo he's done a great job of coaching his team up. It's never pretty but he gets the most out of his talent, his kids always play hard, and they continue to win. At 18-4 (5-3 in the ACC with eight games to go) I don't see how he can't win it again. I have to give him his props: three times in six years isn't so bad.

Eric Prisbell: It's still early and any team can go in any direction at this point.

But right now Tony Bennett gets my vote. This was a team voted 11th in the preseason predictions. Two of their losses in the ACC have come in overtime. Greenberg and Gary have done very well, but Bennett has surprised pretty much everyone.

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We Are Marquette: Hi Eric, thanks for taking time to answer a question not centered on the locals

Help me handicap my alma mater here. We're riding a nice win streak right now that has us back up with the middle of the BE pack. It includes a road win over UConn. We haven't beat any of the big boys, but we've had last second heartbreakers to Nova (twice) and WVU on the road. We also played Cuse really tough at Carrier Dome. Unfortunately, the resume also includes an unsightly loss to DePaul.

Yes, I know close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, but there's a good team in there just starting to come out. We have no size to speak of at all, but we're one of the best shooting teams I've seen. I'd like to see at least 4-5 more wins to feel comfortable. Where would you put our tourney chances?

(Forgive me all the "we's". I normally frown on that, but I think it's acceptable for a school that got thousands of my dollars)

Eric Prisbell: They are an interesting case. I just remember so many close losses, and committee members probably will as well. That should not kill Marquette. And while the DePaul loss is unsightly, it is not as bad RPI-wise as Virginia's loss to Penn State. Losing to North Carolina State is another bad one, however.

I look at the Pitt game as one Marquette probably needs so it can boast of another truly quality win. But the games against SOuth FLorida, Louisville and Cincy may be equally critical because they are other bubble teams. For that reason, Marquette still controls its own destiny in a sense.

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P_McP: Any thoughts on some of the "blogger" wars that occur on Terrapin Insider?

Eric Prisbell: I blame it all on Barno.

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Beltsville, Md.: When calculating the RPI does every D1 game count? If so, why should it matter if a home win is against the 300th or 200th team? How about a RPI where you get to remove 5-10 wins?

Eric Prisbell: I'm all for not counting games against teams 200 or worse. Yes, games against division I teams count. Here is the exact formula that I have copied from Jerry Palm's great site, www.collegerpi.com.

"The basic formula is 25% team winning percentage (WP), 50% opponents' average winning percentage (OWP), and 25% opponents' opponents' average winning percentage (OOWP).

Beginning with the 2004-05 season, the formula was changed to give more weight to road wins vs home wins. A team's win total for RPI purposes is 1.4 * road wins + neutral site wins + 0.6 * home wins. A team's losses is calculated as 0.6 * road losses + neutral site losses + 1.4 * home losses."

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Dallas: Can Kansas State improve enough to knock off Kansas and break the latter's home court win streak?

Eric Prisbell: Frank Martin has done a great job with this team. And K-State had plenty of chances to beat Kansas at home. it was agonizing to watch at times for that reason. So sure, K-State could beat Kansas. But I'm still picking the Jayhawks when the game rolls around. K-State is still in line for a 2 seed -- maybe a 3 -- but it may have to settle with being behind the Jayhawks.

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San Diego, Calif.: Based on his explosive play this year, and assuming he has another year to develop, do you think Freeman (Georgetown) is a potential NBA prospect?

Eric Prisbell: I do. But I'm not a scout, and I'm not exactly sure how he would fit in at the next level. That said, I think there is a place for Austin and I wouldn't be surprised at all if he is drafted -- even late in the first round -- after his senior year.

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Kansas City, Kan.: Although it is ranked No. 1, sometimes I feel like Kansas does not get the respect nationally. While Coach Self has limited his rotation in recent games, KU is extremely deep and able to get significant contributions from eight in every game.

Marcus Morris is probably the most underrated player in America. The sophomore has had a true coming out party in Big 12 play, averaging nearly 17 ppg and 9 rpg, as well as doing all the little stuff diving for balls and creating steals. His twin Markieff is no slouch either.

Cole Aldrich's stats may be down overall this year, but he changes every game from a defensive standpoint. As a team, KU's defensive pressure is relentless at times, just look at the 22-0 run put on Texas Monday night ... could any other team do that? I don't think so. If all cylinders hit at the same time, this team could be really special. Do you believe Kansas is the legitimate No. 1 team and the best team in the nation?

washingtonpost.com: Wait a minute ... Tracee, is that you?

Eric Prisbell: Yes, I have believed they were the legit No. 1 since last spring, and while they have looked a little vulnerable at times -- a bit more than I expected -- I'll still probably pick them to win the whole thing. Kansas vs. Kentucky. That was my preseason national title game matchup.

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"Eric Prisbell: I'm all for not counting games against teams 200 or worse.": But what about that game Syracuse lost to DeVry? Shouldn't that count?

Eric Prisbell: I am just thinking, it would be nice to see a measurement of how a team does against respectable competition. When i look at a team's resume, I try to account for the fact that a team may win 8 or even 10 games against total cupcakes. But, yes, if a team loses to a sad-sack team, that should most certainly be considered in the evaluation process.

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Anonymous: You think Jordan Williams sticks around U-Md. for four years?

Eric Prisbell: I would say yes. But it's a bit early, and sometimes the biggest development comes between freshman and sophomore seasons.

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RE: ?!: Is Alexandria being funny? That quote about the Post being in the tank for GU is hilarious. I would argue the opposite. We get the least respect from The Post. We don't have an insider's blog like every other local school has. We have one beat reporter where Maryland has had more in the past. We rarely get a front page nod - unless we lose.

The Post and GU have had their issues over the years that have soured both sides on each other. Most Hoyas do not look to the Post for coverage of GU hoops on account of perceived slights, real or unreal, and the lack of quality coverage of the team.

U-Md. owns The Post.

Eric Prisbell: Maryland owns the Post???

That may be the first time that anyone has suggest we're soft on Gary. Interesting opinions.

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Takoma Park, Md.: Hmmm. I do not think most folks think the WaPo is 'in the tank' for GU. In fact, the opinion among most fans is the opposite. A lot of it dates back to Big John's tenure. And a lot of it has its roots with junior Feinstein. There is no love lost between the institutions (some of this has unfairly spilled out onto Liz Clarke).

Eric Prisbell: Interesting take.

I don't hear we are in the tank for either school -- Maryland or Georgetown -- and I do not believe we are.

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Shorter answer to Dallas' question: Not while Sherron Collins is still breathing.

Wall will undoubtedly win player of the year, but if I were choosing a team, I'd start with Collins.

Eric Prisbell: I may agree with you on that. I'll take Wall in two years.

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Anonymous: Do you know if the refs were in town before the U-Md./U-Va. game was canceled?

One theory is that, if the refs were in town and the Cavs were in town, they should've just played the game anyway.

Eric Prisbell: I do not know the answer to that question.

That is how it usually works, if everyone is around they play it regardless of who can come to watch.

But given the expected snowfall -- on top of what we just got blasted with -- and given what actually fell, I think most people believe it was a good idea to postpone it. Safety the No. 1 concern, obviously.

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P_McP: Not too long ago there was a quote from Vasquez talking about practices being harder, players and coaches taking practice more seriously (or to the effect) this year.

Was this not the case last year? Or during any of Vasquez's first three years?

Obviously none of us are there to watch and observe practice but what does it say when the senior guard for U-Md. is saying practices this year are "harder"?

Eric Prisbell: I wish I could watch some of Maryland's practices.

The only thing I can speak to is that there was a conditioning issue a few years ago, and Maryland repeatedly wilted toward the end of games and did not make the NCAAs. Out goes the conditioning coach. Maryland does seem to be very conditioned now. They seem very fundamentally sound. And they seem to be the smarter team on the court in just about every game.

I would not be surprised with anything Vasquez says at this point. It may be on point. Or not.

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Anonymous: Why does Terrapin Insider primarily focus only on U-Md. football and men's basketball?

Is it due to a lack of resources and not enough people to cover everything? A feeling that U-Md. fans/alum don't really care too much about other U-Md. sports?

Heck, Goff usually has more info on Terps soccer than Terrapin Insider does.

Eric Prisbell: Resources are a factor, but readers generally are more interested in football and men's basketball, as well.

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Lynchburg, Va.: Eric, I am a huge Hoya fan and I love the way the team is playing right now. I have but one fear about our team's chance at a National title...our BENCH. Can a team such as the Hoyas win in March with a seven player rotation?

Eric Prisbell: They have proven they can beat Nova and Duke, and convincingly, in one-game situations, so I am not as concerned as I was a few weeks ago. I'd like to watch this Georgetown team a little more before I have a real sense of how far they can go. One positive about being in the Big East is that they won't have to play another Big East team until at least the regional final. Right now, Palm's site has G-town facing BYU, Temple before a regional final against likely Kentucky. I would take that if I were a G-town fan.

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Arlington, Va.: How about that call last nite in the Carrier Dome? It appears to anyone watching that timeout should not have been granted and it may have cost U-Conn. the game.

Are there any plans from the NCAA to improve the reffing and cut down the schedule of these overworked schleps?

Eric Prisbell: I hear about refs being overworked every season and likely will continue to hear about it. They have tough work schedules.

I do believe the better team won the game, but that is no consolation to you. Not much more I can say about it.

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Reston, Va.: U-Va. grad and fan here. Sylven Landesberg is the real deal, and he carried the team on his back and nearly beat Wake Forest singlehandedly. But that's the problem -- he had to put the team on his back to give us a shot. What will it take for U-Va. to get steadier contributions from the rest of the team, namely Mike Scott, Mustafa Farrakhan, and Jeff Jones? (Sammy Zeglinski was under the weather for the Wake Forest game, so is low offensive output is excused.)

Elsewhere in the ACC, Maryland and Duke seem to have emerged as the top two teams, with Wake Forest and Virginia Tech behind them. U-Va.'s right there for now, but I fear we slip up down the stretch and finish up 8-8 or 7-9. The fact that we're 0-3 against Wake Forest and Virginia Tech shows to me that we're not a top-four team this year.

Oh, and can referees stop buying Malcolm Delaney's antics? It's embarrassing. In all honesty, I think his game has regressed because he's only looking to draw contact and get to the line. He's been very poorly from everywhere but the free throw line for a couple weeks now. I think he'd be better off just playing the game instead of trying (and, sadly, often succeeding) in gaming the referees.

Eric Prisbell: Thanks for the question. I will type fast before my battery dies. Landesberg has really developed into a solid overall player, not just a scorer. I'm actually impressed in general about the contributions from others, especially Scott and Zeglinski. It does not look like Jones is ready to contribute in a large way right now.

I do still think Duke is the best team in the league and the favorite but Maryland has played as well as anyone.

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Eric Prisbell: Thanks a lot, everyone. Take care. Be safe in the snow. We'll be back here soon.

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