Local college basketball teams have been playing for more than a month. So now is a good time to check on which teams may be good this season.
University of Maryland men: The Terrapins are off to a terrific start. They won the Orlando Invitational tournament with an impressive 84-63 win over Marquette. Maryland was 8-0 (eight wins, no losses) going into last night’s game against Notre Dame and ranked third in the nation.
One of the reasons for the Terps’ early success is they have something few top programs have during these days of players leaving for the pros after one or two seasons: a senior point guard.
Anthony Cowan Jr. is averaging more than 17 points a game while leading the team in assists. Cowan has already graduated from Maryland and is working on a master’s degree.
So the Terps, who are loaded with young talent, know they have a smart, savvy leader for their tough Big Ten schedule.
Maryland women: Coach Brenda Frese always has a strong team. In 17 years as Maryland’s head coach, her teams have averaged almost 27 wins a season.
This should be another big season for Frese and the Terps, who are ranked ninth. One reason? The Terps are tall. Six of the top seven players are listed at six feet or taller, and the seventh is listed at 5-foot-11. Forward Shakira Austin is 6-foot-5 and plays at the level of the Women’s National Basketball Association. She will be a matchup nightmare for lots of Maryland’s opponents.
University of Virginia men: The University of Virginia is not strictly Washington-area (the school is 115 miles away in Charlottesville, Virginia), but lots of kids follow the Cavaliers. After all, they won the NCAA men’s basketball title last year.
This year, the Cavaliers have a weird team. Like the NBA, college basketball has become a high-scoring game with teams tossing up lots of three-point shots.
Virginia, on the other hand, wins with defense. In the first seven games of the season (all wins), Virginia has held its opponents to about 40 points a game. Middle school teams score more than that!
Other local teams: Most of the other local men’s and women’s teams are off to so-so starts this season. But keep your eye on the George Mason University men’s team. The Patriots are 9-1 and recently won the Cayman Islands Classic by beating Old Dominion, Nebraska and New Mexico State.
But watching even the not-so-good college teams is great for kids. The games are exciting, much cheaper than the pros and are often played on weekend afternoons.
So check out a school near you and put a college game on your to-do list for this season.