After a one-week hiatus, the Atlantic 11 is back, and with two new teams to boot. (Welcome to the party, Old Dominion and Towson. Sorry to see you go, for now, Radford and Navy.)

Penn State threatened to dethrone Maryland from its spot atop the reader poll of the best 11 teams among the 27 schools with Division I basketball programs in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, but Big Ten Player of the Week Diamond Stone rescued the Terps with a Maryland freshman record 39 points in a comeback win.

Virginia is lurking at No. 2, thanks to 11 consecutive wins after a loss at George Washington, which remains No. 3 despite a late-December loss to DePaul. VCU is fourth, followed by Georgetown, which has put together a modest three-game win streak since back-to-back losses to Monmouth and UNC Asheville.

What is the Atlantic 11? | Previous Polls: Week 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

To the pith …

1. Maryland (13-1, 2-0 Big Ten) 505 points (28 first-place votes) (Previous Ranking: 1)
Next: Wednesday vs. Rutgers, Saturday at Wisconsin

Maryland Basketball: Diamonds are Forever (or at least one season). (Ned Bellieveau)

Diamonds won’t be forever if Mr. Stone keeps putting up 39-point performances for the Terps. Enjoy him while you can, Maryland fans. (Ted Wheeler)

Diamond Stone > Neil Diamond > Lou Diamond Phillips (Sean McLernon)

The Terps received yet another home-scare from an inferior opponent last week against Penn State before rallying late. At a minimum, spotting teams double-digit leads is certainly not helping Coach Turgeon’s early graying. (Joe Pope)

Diamond Stone treated the Nittany Lions worse than a Minnesota dentist. (Michael Freeman)

Elaine Benes attended the Terps’ demolition of Northwestern. The Elaine Dance may have been a better defensive strategy for the Wildcats than what we saw. (Joey Flyntz)

Entering the heart of conference play still with their best win over a team that is 0-2 to the Big South. Wait, that’s Duke too. (Matt Ipri)

The Rasheed Sulaimon Duke Revenge Tour continued with 16 points against former Duke player and now Northwestern Coach Chris Collins. A Terps student manager is creating a ‘Six Degrees of Duke Basketball’ with every Big Ten team to keep the tour going all season. (Alan Van Grack)

Human victory cigar Varun Ram might see action in the first half against Rutgers on Wednesday. (Chris Olson)

2. Virginia (12-1, 1-0 ACC) 499 points (24) (PR: 2)
Next: Monday at Virginia Tech, Saturday at Georgia Tech

The Cavaliers are tied with North Carolina for the ACC lead in dunks this season. Critics ask when will Tony Bennett’s team finally play fundamentally sound basketball and stop relying on flashy plays. (Grant Kronenberg)

Since a November loss to GW, the Hoos have been rising in the rankings at a slow and steady pace, just like London Perrantes’ flat top. (Sean McLernon)

Cavaliers have only lost eight times since January 1, 2014, fewest in the nation. (Chris Olson)

The same Virginia defense you love, now with 3-point shooting! (Ted Wheeler)

This week’s Virginia-Virginia Tech game brought the least excitement for an in-state rivalry since the Ravens played the Redskins in the Elvis Grbac-Jeff George QB era. (Michael Freeman)

“Bad for the game”? If they were wearing Blue and White they would be lauded as Coach K’s genius. (Matt Ipri)

True story: I ran into Tony Bennett at a barbecue restaurant earlier this season, and he was dressed in head-to-toe Redskins gear. I’m taking that as a sign. (John Taylor)

The Cavs dispatched the defending ACC champions, Notre Dame, behind fifth year super-seniors Malcolm Brogdon and Anthony Gill. It’s a shame I didn’t have this example of the positives of partaking in an undergraduate “victory lap” when I was trying to justify an extra year to my parents. (Joe Pope)

3. George Washington (12-2, 1-0 A10) 417 points (1) (PR: 3)
Next: Wednesday at Saint Louis, Saturday vs. Duquesne

After adding their defeat of the Knights of Central Florida to their earlier victories over the Army Black Knights and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, the Colonials are feeling so confident that they do not even plan to bring a shrubbery to their upcoming game against the Knights Who Say Ni. (Vince Colatriano)

The Colonials may have dropped out of the top 25, but Yuta Watanabe remains the best player in Division I with alternating consonant-vowel first and last names. (Sean McLernon)

This week, the Colonials play teams from St. Louis and Pittsburgh, which would be of enormous consequence if this was the NL Central. (Michael Freeman)

Hopefully when the Colonials meet St. Louis in St. Louis, Louis their shots won’t go “clang, clang, clang” off the rim. (Chris Olson)

I guess if you’re gonna get skunked by DePaul, a Tuesday night in late December is a good time to do it. (Joey Flyntz)

GW is left wondering how DePaul stole Christmas and their Top 25 ranking. DePaul (and ex-Virginia) Coach Dave Leitao makes an awfully good Grinch. (Ted Wheeler)

4. VCU (9-5, 1-0 A10) 324 points (PR: 5)
Next: Tuesday at Saint Joseph’s, Sunday at Saint Louis

If VCU can play George Mason every game, they’ll be back in the Final Four. (Billy Boros)

The Rams have won their last four games by margins of 21, 28, 12, and 24, stubbornly refusing to spread any cheer this holiday season. (Sean McLernon)

It’s weird, ever since VCU stopped playing Final Four teams, their winning percentage went way up. Really makes you think. (Ned Belliveau)

Beat up on George Mason, the 2016 Atlantic 11 punching bag. Speaking of Mason and punching bags, what’s Tony Skinn up to? (Chris Olson)

The Rams opened up A10 play demolishing George Mason. Both are former CAA schools and both made it to the Final Four. Next season we’ll say the same about W&M after they make the Final Four and jump to the ACC. (Brian Hoysa)

5. Georgetown (9-5, 2-0 Big East) 304 points (PR: 7)
Next: Tuesday at Creighton, Saturday vs. DePaul

Hoyas finally back to the safety of the Big East. No more worrying about the bullies from the Big South or the MAAC. (Chris Olson)

How am I supposed to write scathing pith about Georgetown if they haven’t lost to a mid-major in more than two weeks? *Checks schedule* Oh good, they have DePaul at home on Saturday. (Joe Pope)

The Hoyas have righted the ship since emerging from the lethal barely-out-of-Division II portion of their schedule. (Michael Freeman)

The Hoyas are in first place in the Big East despite home losses to teams like Radford and UNC Asheville, perhaps just to remind us all how frustratingly unpredictable NCAA men’s basketball really is. (Sean McLernon)

Georgetown’s current MVP is the Big East schedule-maker, who forgot to match the Hoyas up against Villanova, Xavier, Providence or Butler until later this month. (Ted Wheeler)

6. Richmond (8-5, 0-1 A10) 226 points (PR: 4)
Next: Tuesday at Rhode Island, Sunday at Fordham

A December trip to Lubbock to get blown out by Texas Tech had to be the result of a lost bet. (Chris Olson)

The Spiders have three of the next four games against teams nicknamed the Rams, suggesting that even schedule makers believe in the rule of three. (Sean McLernon)

Any team that has a monkey riding a dog for its halftime show is doing things the right way. (David Smock)

Finally, a classy way to introduce pooping on the floor discussions into the poll. (Jake Leffler)

You’ll need to ask Mrs. Jones if her son, Spiders guard ShawnDre’, is named after her two favorite rappers. (Adam Anthony)

I caught some of the Richmond vs. Texas Tech game last week and counting the 1,365 in attendance was considerably more entertaining than the game (Brian Hoysa)

7. JMU (11-4, 1-1 CAA) 196 points (PR: 6)
Next: Thursday vs. Elon, Saturday vs. Towson

By earning their first CAA victory of the season at Delaware, the Dukes succeeded where so many have failed – managing to make a trip to Delaware enjoyable. (Sean McLernon)

JMU features so many foreign-born players that an overseas tournament during a Trump administration would shutter the program. (Adam Anthony)

8. William & Mary (9-4, 1-1 CAA) 138 points (PR: 8)
Next: Thursday at Drexel, Saturday vs. Northeastern

When a team reviews its season’s wins, how come beating High Point never is one? (Michael Freeman)

Terry Tarpey just became the first player in school history with 100 steals and 100 blocks, which led to an awkward encounter with confused reenactors from the Colonial Williamsburg Jail. (Sean McLernon)

Nine wins keeps you in the mix because only 13 teams have winning records. (Mike Doughten)

9. Virginia Tech (9-5, 1-0 ACC) 116 points (PR: 9)
Next: Monday vs. Virginia, Saturday at Duke

Proud that postseason-seeking opponents now just see them as a winnable game, as opposed to the RPI drain they used to be. (Jake Leffler)

Celebrating its 1-0 ACC record, Hokies become NCAA’s first-ever team to hold end-of-year awards banquet in January. (Michael Freeman)

Buzz Williams refused to speak to the media after the Hokies were blown out by West Virginia, but that was probably because he was ashamed to be on camera any longer wearing one of those ridiculous outfits of his. (Sean McLernon)

Seth Allen’s big three-pointer sent N.C. State game to OT. Maryland still owns N.C. State. (Joey Flyntz)

Win over N.C. State gave the Hokies a 1-0 record in the ACC. Enjoy the winning record now, fellas. Virginia and Duke loom this week. (Chris Olson)

The Hokies will get their shot at Virginia this week. It’s been reported the players have participated in some interesting hypnosis techniques to convince them their decade-long gridiron dominance over the Cavaliers can somehow translate to the hardwood (Joe Pope)

It’s Brooks Brothers week for the Hokies as they take on both U-Va. and Duke. (Brian Hoysa)

10. Old Dominion (8-6, 1-0 CUSA) 81 points (PR: Not Ranked)
Next: Thursday at Louisiana Tech, Saturday at Southern Mississippi

Beat Rams (Rhode Island) and 49ers (Charlotte) over the holidays to gain ground in the NFC West. (Paul Frampton)

Lefty Driesell famously said Maryland would be the “UCLA of the East,” but with a 32-game home winning streak, Old Dominion’s court might be the region’s Pauley Pavilion. (Michael Freeman)

11. Towson (10-5, 1-1 CAA) 29 points (PR: Not Ranked)
Next: Thursday vs. UNC Wilmington, Saturday at JMU

Cameroon native William Adala Moto has been exceptional this season for the Tigers, securing more Baltimore-area acclaim than any international since all those British actors on “The Wire.” (Sean McLernon)

Dropped out: Navy, Radford
Also receiving votes: Radford 26, George Mason 17, Navy 16, Norfolk St. 6, UMES 6, Loyola 3, American 2, Longwood 2, Howard 1