The fifth season of Atlantic 11voting on D.C., Maryland and Virginia men’s basketball team ends, and the poll has just its third champion.
The winner? George Mason.
(Sounds of bells ringing and people kissing in the streets of Fairfax.)
Yup, the Patriots were only the second-highest seeded team according to the NCAA tournament selection committee. They were only the fourth-best team according to the AP poll voters. But our hardy crew of devoted local basketball watchers was unwilling to give the crown to a team that lost its final 47 games, and so Mason it is.
This is, of course, the highest the Patriots have ever finished, and it was a huge bounceback from their ninth-place finish a year ago. Three-time champion Georgetown finishes second, and retains the best five-year resume of any local team. Old Dominion was a narrow third, marking the Monarchs’ best-ever finish. Richmond, third a year ago, finishes fourth. Maryland wound up seventh, equaling its worst-ever result.
In other interesting news, voters put VCU fifth and Virginia Tech sixth, seemingly agreeing with the selection committee that the Rams were more deserving of an at-large spot than the tough-luck Hokies. Hampton moved up to eigth, but was the lowest ranked of our six NCAA tournament teams. That’s about the number we’ve grown to expect: the tri-state-and-district area has produced 7, 6, 5, 5, and now 6 NCAA tournament teams since this poll has existed.
The final RPI report doesn’t exactly agree with our final rankings. Georgetown is the top-ranked local school, with an RPI that ranked 13th. Then comes Old Dominion (20th), George Mason (24th), Richmond (41st), VCU (49th), Virginia Tech (62nd), James Madison (88th) and Maryland (98th).
Here are this week’s results, followed by overall record, overall points, first-place votes and impeccable wit.
1. George Mason (26-6) 320 (16)
Next: Friday, NCAA first round vs. Villanova.
--Grandpa, are you saying the ACC wasn’t always the CAA Eastern Division??? (Adam Anthony)
--NoVa vs. NOVA. I see what the Committee did there. (Markus Videnieks)
--No, really, thanks for the great draw. Seriously, thanks for making us an 8 seed. We’re soooo appreciative. (Chris Olson)
--Patriots are this year’s George Mason. (John Albers)
--It’s too bad that Scottie Reynolds is no longer at Villanova. I would have liked reading stories all week about how Reynolds is from Herndon and is playing against a Fairfax school. (Sean’s Ramblings)
2. Georgetown (21-10) 281 (9)
Next: Friday, NCAA first round vs. USC-VCU winner.
--At least they’re well rested. (Max Wasserman)
--JTIII will be damned if he’s going to fall for that “Trojan Ram” trick again. (Jamie Paquette)
--The First Rule of Wright Club: Do not ask me about my hand. (John Albers)
--he Hoyas got some benefit of the doubt from the committee based on Chris Wright’s return. Hey, Seth Greenberg, maybe THAT’s a way to get NCAA leniency for Virginia Tech next year. (Gavin Weiss)
3. Old Dominion (27-6) 280 (6)
Next: Thursday, NCAA first round vs. Butler.
--Butler vs. Monarchs should help truTV’s ratings when thousands of 40+ women tune in expecting a movie starring Emma Thompson. (Jamie Paquette)
--ESPN’s Andy Katz said “there will be blood” during the Butler-Old Dominion game. I just want to see Blaine Taylor drink a milkshake. (Sean McLernon)
--Monarchs to face Butler. In the Study. With a Candlestick. (John Albers)
4. Richmond (27-7) 253 (3)
Next: Thursday, NCAA first round vs. Vanderbilt.
--Hoping not to get upset by the 5 seed. (Markus Videnieks)
5. VCU (23-11) 196
Next: Wednesday, NCAA play-in game vs. USC.
--Now all VCU needs to do is find the world’s largest bulletin board. (Sean McLernon)
--I guess we can rule out Jay Bilas for VCU’s convocation speaker. (Max Wasserman)
--After the ESPN NCAA Selection Show Jay Bilas was invited to fill the General U.S. Grant Hospitality Chair in the VCU Media Relations Department. (Chris Fish)
--The NCAA tournament committee was obviously swayed by VCU’s 2010 CBI title (presented by Zebra Pen!) (Jamie Paquette)
--USC’s leading scorer Nikola Vucevic is from Bar, Montenegro, which is a total coincidence because as I write this, I’d rather be at Bar, Washington DC. (Markus Videnieks)
6. Virginia Tech (21-11) 174
Next: Wednesday, NIT first round vs. Bethune-Cookman.
--The Man never gives a break to those poor, underfunded BCS conference schools. (Chris Olson)
--The only “agenda” that the committee has is keeping crappy teams out of the tournament. (Peter Keszler)
--*sigh* (Max Wasserman)
--It turns out we wrong this whole time with our “69th best” jokes. They were actually 70th best (thanks for nothing Colorado). (Jake Leffler)
--Seth Greenberg said the tournament selection process “doesn’t make any sense.” It’s the most painfully obvious observation I’ve ever heard. (Sean McLernon)
--Vinny Cerrato blames their “snub” on Jim Zorn. (Markus Videnieks)
7. Maryland (19-14) 117
--With the Terps snubbed from both the NCAA and NIT, Maryland is considering accepting a bid to take on the Olney Boys and Girls Club at halftime of a future Wizards game. (Gavin Weiss)
--Looks like Duke fans chanting “NIT!” the other night were aiming a bit too high for the Terps. (Ivan Snyder)
--Whatever. We’re a football school anyway. (Markus Videnieks)
--NIT Selection Committee inexplicably overlooks quality wins over Maine, Elon, and the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Ouch. That’s all. Just ouch. (Tim O’Kane)
--Not Invited Tournament. Not In Tournament. Not Important Tournament. Not Interesting Tournament. Not Interested Tournament. (Adam Anthony)
--Essentially got turned down by the drunkest, least appealing girl in the bar at closing time. (John Albers)
--When he said the Terps should always be in the Top 25, Billy Packer was talking about the Atlantic 11, right? (Jamie Paquette)
8. Hampton (24-8) 97
Next: Friday, NCAA first round vs. Duke.
--This week they join the likes of Arkansas Pine Bluff, Binghamton, Belmont, and Lamar as either Duke’s first round sacrificial lamb or America’s team, depending on whether or not you have a soul. (Markus Videnieks)
--Avoiding the trip to Dayton makes this a highlight year for the MEAC. (Max Wasserman)
--Would anyone notice if Malcolm Delaney pretended to be Kwame Morgan II or anyone else on the Hampton roster against Duke? (Sean’s Ramblings)
9. James Madison (21-11) 56
Next: Tuesday, CBI first round at Davidson.
--Dukes to face Davidson in College Basketball Invitational presented by Zebra Pen & why are you still reading this? (John Albers)
--Dukes are hoping to capture the prestige that can only come from winning a tournament that features Weber State and St. Bonaventure. (Jamie Paquette)
--The NCAA selection committee denied the Dukes the dream of believing they had spoiled VCU’s tournament hopes with their victory on the final regular season game. That’s just cruel. (Sean McLernon)
10. Virginia (16-15) 55
--I was almost done writing a great joke about Virginia, but I gave up and threw it away 42 seconds before the submission deadline. (Mike Steele)
--Even without getting a bid to the tournament, the odds of Virginia winning the NCAA championship are about the same as them losing a 10-point lead in less than 42 seconds, so they have to be feeling good about that. (Sean McLernon)
--Tough luck for the Cavs as that quality win over Maryland wasn’t enough to get them in the tournament. (Markus Videnieks)
--It’s an outrage that the Cavaliers didn’t make the NIT. They only defeated the NIT’s No. 1-seed twice this season. (Sean’s Ramblings)
--Virginia students were so upset about loss to Miami in first round of ACC tournament that they spent the afternoon ironing their khakis and pastel-colored polo shirts. (Ivan Snyder)
--The Cavaliers had a loss so epic this week that Steinberg devoted two blog posts to it, and they still had the least disappointing weekend of any ACC team in the poll. (Jake Leffler)
11. American (22-9) 35
--The end of the Eagles’ basketball season drives a wooden stake through the heart of all pith related to Vlad Moldoveanu. (John Albers)
--It would appear Vlad Moldoveanu was tremendous in his first full season for the Eagles, until you realize how much basketball you can play in 1,000 years of living. (Gavin Weiss)
Also receiving votes: George Washington 10, Morgan State 9, VMI 6, William & Mary 3, Liberty 1, Mount St. Mary’s 1, Navy 1.