Maryland lost a game and its 7-foot-1 center Sunday at Wisconsin, so it’s probably not much consolation that the Terps finally dethroned Virginia as the No. 1 team in the Atlantic 11, the bimonthly reader poll of the best 11 men’s basketball teams among the 27 Division I men’s basketball programs in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
How did Maryland do it? By not stinking quite as much over the past two weeks as the Cavaliers, who have lost six of eight and four straight after Monday’s meltdown against dancing Jim Larranaga and Miami.
Maryland and Virginia are followed by VCU, Virginia Tech and Georgetown, which probably had its already slim at-large NCAA tournament hopes dashed with Sunday’s loss to Creighton. After that, things get bleak, with Richmond and George Mason holding steady at No. 6 and No. 7. This week’s biggest riser is red-hot Towson, which has won six straight and jumped two spots to ninth.
To the pith …
1. Maryland (22-5, 10-4 Big Ten) 372 points (18 first-place votes) | Previous: 2
Next: Wednesday vs. Minnesota, Saturday vs. Iowa.
There will never be a fable about The Tortoise and the Badger, because turtles apparently can’t box out under the basket. (Michael Freeman)
Maryland’s Melo Trimble scores 27 in a losing effort against Wisconsin. Not to be confused with the Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony, who consistently scores 27 in losing efforts against the entire NBA. (Ted Wheeler)
Sitting on the bench for the last four minutes against Wisconsin, Melo looked about as sad as Camp David. (Michael Hoffman)
Since the last Atlantic 11 poll, Maryland has lost to Penn State and Wisconsin. Only one more from achieving the Hillary Clinton trifecta. (Jared Kotler)
The Terps feel a little more like a Big Ten team with every game against Wisconsin. (Alex Knobel)
2. Virginia (18-9, 8-7 ACC) 370 points (18) | Previous: 1
Next: Saturday at N.C. State.
Virginia fans should feel good the annual losing streak happened in February and not March this year. (Michael Hoffman)
U-Va. found itself on the wrong side of a low-scoring conference game — and it’s not even football season. (Ned Belliveau)
If this was a football team, the offensive coordinator would have been told to turn in his headset by now. (Michael Freeman)
Making Offense Terrible Again. (Matt Ipri)
Fun fact: If the Hoos had scored 71 points in regulation in each of their past nine games, they’d be undefeated instead of 3-6. So that’s the game plan! (Richard Hsu)
Surprised the referees were able to see that Miami’s buzzer-beater at the half was still on the player’s fingertips as the half expired. From watching that game, I would’ve thought their eyes had burned out. (Jared Kotler)
Virginia loses four in a row but ascends to No. 1 in the KenPom adjusted defense ranking. In other words, a “dream season” for Coach Bennett and the Cavaliers. (Ted Wheeler)
The ball stopping on the rim at Virginia Tech opened a wormhole which transported U-Va. basketball to the pre-Tony Bennett era. (Dan Caro)
Pining for the good old days of being viewed as a great regular season team that just can’t get it done as a 1 or 2 seed in the Big Dance. (@dcwahoo)
3. VCU (22-5, 12-2 A10) 319 points (3) | Previous: 3
Next: Wednesday vs. Saint Louis, Saturday at Rhode Island.
VCU commits 17 turnovers against Richmond yet manages to win. Reportedly Redskins scouts have taken notice. (Ted Wheeler)
VCU has not lost since Donald Trump was inaugurated. Guess Rams fans are seeing his promise of “winning so much” come true. (Jared Kotler)
VCU, master of miracle comebacks and getting opponents to snatch defeat from the gaping jaws of victory. (Russell Meyer)
Add a couple more games onto VCU’s current eight-game streak and JeQuan Lewis might want to think about entering this year’s gubernatorial race in the commonwealth. (Michael Freeman)
4. Virginia Tech (18-8, 7-7 ACC) 282 points (1) | Previous: 4
Next: Tuesday vs. Clemson, Saturday at Boston College.
Gary Williams can now rest easy knowing that his sweating record was finally broken by Buzz Williams, who went through two shirts and a jacket before finally going to the Nike Elite T-shirt. (Russell Meyer)
Buzz’s T-shirt look is going to start a trend for sweaty coaches for sponsorship deals across the country. (Matt Ipri)
Their struggles have led Buzz to begin his new sportswear modelling career. (Paul Frampton)
Retired Gary Williams watched Buzz Williams coaching in a T-shirt after sweating through his suit and lamented the missed endorsement opportunities. (Michael Freeman)
I didn’t know if I was watching VT-Louisville or the NBA All-Star game. The defensive effort was about the same. (Dan Caro)
You’ve heard about hometown refs. Now the Commonwealth Clash presents you with the newest in home court advantages: the hometown rim. (Kate Gaziano)
5. Georgetown (14-13, 5-9 Big East) 203 points | Previous: 5
Next: Wednesday vs. DePaul, Saturday at St. John’s.
Neither traditional nor advanced metrics favor the Hoyas’ postseason cause. Alternative metrics, perhaps? (Richard Hsu)
I’m the person filling out the ballot, and I’m still surprised when I see Georgetown fifth. (Jake Leffler)
Georgetown’s bubble status has shifted from “outside looking in” to “out” to “General Flynn.” (Ted Wheeler)
Allen Iverson could be The Answer for Georgetown’s coaching woes. (Joey Harris)
In the mix for March Madness? Sorry, Hoya fans, the only bubble in Chinatown these days is in the hot pot at Tony Cheng’s. (Michael Freeman)
In a year where a record number of teams with losing conference records make the tournament, Georgetown still lacks a sufficient resume to sniff the bubble. (Russell Meyer)
6. Richmond (15-11, 9-5 A10) 166 points | Previous: 6
Next: Tuesday vs. Davidson, Saturday at Fordham.
In January, they were playing like big-budget “Spider-Man” blockbusters. February has been more like Syfy Channel’s cheesy “Lavalantula.”(Michael Freeman)
7. George Mason (18-9, 8-6 A10) 162 points | Previous: 7
Next: Tuesday at Dayton, Sunday at George Washington.
History buffs should be sure to clear their schedule for Saturday’s Founding Father matchup against George Washington. (Kate Gaziano)
The Patriots of northern Virginia swept the series with Richmond, giving Hillary Clinton supporters the weakest of symbolic revenge victories. (Michael Freeman)
Are using the hashtag #GetPatriotic. You don’t see a lot of that these days. (James Schneider)
8. Old Dominion (16-10, 9-5 CUSA) 94 points | Previous: 8
Next: Thursday vs. Marshall, Saturday vs. Western Kentucky.
B.J. and Brandan Stith may be the best brother tandem in sports history next to the DiMaggios or, at minimum, those Hanson brothers from the great hockey movie “Slap Shot.” (Michael Freeman)
9. Towson (19-10, 11-5 CAA) 63 points | Previous: 11
Next: Thursday at UNC-Wilmington, Saturday at William & Mary.
Amazing that one of the eight teams that took an ‘L’ from JMU could be ranked ninth, but here we are. (Jake Leffler)
In the last four games of its six-game win streak, Towson has given up 65, 66, 65 and 65 points, proving that consistency is a hobgoblin that knows how to clog the lane. (Michael Freeman)
10. William & Mary (15-12, 9-7 CAA) 53 points | Previous: 9
Next: Thursday vs. Hofstra, Saturday vs. Towson.
When all else fails to round out the Atlantic 11, throw in a middling CAA team. (James Schneider)
11. George Washington (14-13, 6-8 A10) 51 points | Previous: 10
Next: Thursday vs. UMass, Sunday vs. George Mason.
The Colonials aren’t going to get a chance to defend their NIT championship. (Paul Frampton)
Also receiving votes: Navy 12, UMBC 12, Liberty 11, American 4, Hampton 1, JMU 1.