For the third straight year, Virginia finishes the season atop the Atlantic 11, a bimonthly reader poll of the top 11 men’s basketball teams from among the 27 Division I men’s basketball programs in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. The Cavaliers, who play UNC Wilmington in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday, garnered 28 of 33 first-place votes in the final poll to hold off No. 2 Maryland, which led the Atlantic 11 for a two-week stretch last month.
There wasn’t much movement in this week’s rankings, with the top eight positions remaining unchanged. Maryland, which received three first-place votes, was followed by fellow NCAA tournament teams Virginia Commonwealth (one first-place vote) and Virginia Tech. NIT-bound Richmond is fifth, followed by George Mason and George Washington, who will participate in something called the CBI tournament.
The biggest winner this week is Mount St. Mary’s, which secured an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament by winning the Northeast Conference tournament on its home floor and makes its Atlantic 11 season debut in the final poll at No. 9. The Mountaineers opened the season 1-11 against a brutal schedule that featured 10 road games, including visits to West Virginia, Iowa State, Minnesota, Michigan and Arkansas. Mount St. Mary’s plays New Orleans in a play-in game in Dayton, Ohio, on Tuesday. Should Mount St. Mary’advance, it will face top overall seed Villanova in the first round. Coach Jamion Christian’s squad should be plenty battle-tested.
For the last time this season, to the pith …
1. Virginia (22-10, 11-7 ACC) 314 points (28 first-place votes) | Previous: 1
Next: Thursday vs. UNC Wilmingon in NCAA tournament.
It’s been a weird and unpredictable season for the Hoos, so of course the selection committee sent them to play in the country’s most weird and unpredictable place: Florida. (Sean McLernon)
They already have a W against UNC this season, how about a W against UNC-W? (Chris Olson)
Judging by the Hoos’ placement, chicks — and the NCAA selection committee — don’t dig defense like they do the long ball. (Michael Freeman)
The 2016-17 season summarized: Too much man bun, too little offense. (Matt Ipri)
U-Va. played a brutal regular season schedule including losses to Villanova, Virginia Tech, and Duke, but now the Cavaliers can look forward to easier potential matchups in the NCAA tournament against Villanova, Virginia Tech and Duke. (Ted Wheeler)
Virginia stays on top by not choking out of their tournament before Maryland choked out of theirs. (Mike Doughten)
At least Virginia didn’t get put on the same side of the bracket as Michigan State. So they’ve got that going for them. (Dan Caro)
2. Maryland (24-8, 12-6 Big Ten) 273 points (3) | Previous: 2
Next: Thursday vs. Xavier in NCAA tournament.
The Terps and my lawn share this: both are fairly over-seeded, and about to get left out in the cold. (Richard Hsu)
Al Michaels’ voice: “Do you believe in Maryland? … No!” (Chris Olson)
The 2016-17 season summarized: Melo’s back hurts, but hey, the tournament is played on the road! (Matt Ipri)
The Terps worked less (in the Big Ten tournament) and made more (in seeding) than comparable league teams, explaining again why America hates the Beltway. (Michael Freeman)
Cheer up, Maryland fans. You only lost to a former Coach K assistant in the Big 10 tournament, rather than having to lose to Duke and Coach K himself in the ACC tournament. (Ted Wheeler)
3. VCU (26-8, 14-4 A10) 250 points (1) | Previous: 3
Next: Thursday vs. Saint Mary’s in NCAA tournament.
Finished 11-0 against other Atlantic 11 teams. That is what we call #FancyStats. (James Schneider)
They have to face the St. Mary’s Thunder From Down Under in the first round, a team with seven Australians and two guys named “Jock.” (Chris Olson)
The Rams have now made the tournament in seven straight seasons, displaying so much consistency and stability that Daniel Snyder has been watching them on tape, looking for insight. (Sean McLernon)
Too much Ram on Ram violence for the Rams to overcome in the A10 final. (Mike Doughten)
VCU loses their conference final to Rhode Island, which is kinda like finishing second to Spud Webb in a dunk contest. (Ted Wheeler)
Time to see if Havoc is subject to jet-lag. (Richard Hsu)
4. Virginia Tech (22-10, 10-8 ACC) 249 points | Previous: 4
Next: Thursday vs. Wisconsin in NCAA tournament.
The Hokies are underdogs according to Las Vegas, ESPN, and the public, and we know the prognosticators have been flawless since November. (Chris Olson)
Virginia Tech is dancing again. Something they’ve been known to do decennially. (Dan Caro)
The Hokies are in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2007, which is so long ago that back then Buzz Williams had to write out emoji by hand on paper. (Sean McLernon)
Seth Greenberg, overheard in the ESPN studios, “Oh, so that’s what the other side of the bubble looks like.” (Michael Freeman)
The 2016-17 season summarized: Buzz sweats a lot, but that team can SHOOT. (Matt Ipri)
I’m sure Buffalo is lovely this time of year. (Paul Frampton)
Virginia Tech very quietly beat the ACC and Big Ten tournament champions this year. (Dan Caro)
5. Richmond (20-12, 13-5 A10) 156 points | Previous: 5
Next: Tuesday at Alabama in NIT.
The good news is that you made the post season and get a free trip! The bad news is that it’s the NIT and you have to go to Alabama. (Chris Olson)
Late push gets them into NIT and a trip to Tuscaloosa. I’d rather be in Tuscaloosa than digging out of snow, too. (Paul Frampton)
The Spiders are NIT bound. That’s like ordering a box of Samoas and ending up with a box of Trefoils. (James Schneider)
6. George Mason (20-13, 9-9 A10) 117 points | Previous: 6
Next: Wednesday vs. Loyola (Md.) in CBI tournament.
George Mason’s Green Machine took on VCU’s Peppas in The Battle of the Bands in Pittsburgh. There was also a basketball game. (Mike Doughten)
Guard Marquise Moore finishes 8th in the country with 10.9 rebounds per game, the next closest guard is tied for 33rd. (Chris Olson)
Host Loyola in CBI. How did Loyola get in with a 15-16 record? Did they have a Groupon? (Paul Frampton)
I visited the CBI website to confirm that Mason had accepted a bid, but the website was down. This tells you everything you need to know about the CBI. (Sean McLernon)
7. George Washington (19-14, 10-8 A10) 107 points | Previous: 7
Next: Wednesday vs. Toledo in CBI tournament.
Moving the Atlantic 10 tournament west to Pittsburgh left the Colonials with a disadvantage. After all, George Washington is always better when crossing the Delaware. (Sean McLernon)
Making the NCAA tournament in a year that started by losing their coach would have been a Hoosiersesque epic. Life ain’t Hollywood. (Michael Freeman)
Kudos to GW interim coach Maurice Joseph on a winning season after the shenanigans with Mike Lonergan. He’s only 31 and on his way to being a star. (Chris Olson)
Coach Maurice Joseph has asked the band not to play the song from “Hamilton” that goes, “George Washington’s going ho-o-ooome …” (Richard Hsu)
8. Georgetown (14-18, 5-13 Big East) 103 points (1) | Previous: 8
Next: Season complete.
Seeing former Big East titans Georgetown and St. John’s brawl last week was like a remake of Rocky starring Pauly Shore and Carrot Top. (Michael Freeman)
Georgetown finishes their season by losing six in a row, also known as a “Redskins playoff push.” (Ted Wheeler)
Forget St. John’s University, I’m not sure Georgetown could beat St. John’s College High School. (Chris Olson)
Would the last person left on Georgetown’s basketball team turn out the lights? (Mike Dean)
At least JTIII will have his hot seat to keep him warm this week. (Richard Hsu)
Things are going so bad for the Hoyas that I have to give them this [a first-place vote] as a break. (Brian Jenkins)
9. Mount St. Mary’s (19-15, 14-4 NEC) 59 points | Previous: Not Ranked
Next: Tuesday vs. New Orleans in NCAA tournament.
The most exciting part of the Mount getting an NCAA tournament berth is that it could lead to more people learning about the zebra that lives on a farm a few miles from campus. (Sean McLernon)
The Mountaineers have a large hill to climb. A win in the play-in game and they get to face defending national champions Villanova. (Chris Olson)
Mount St. Mary’s started their season 1-11 and gets to participate in the NCAA tournament, which is kinda like Rick Perry getting to participate in the White House. (Ted Wheeler)
Mount St. Mary’s was 1-11 early this season. I wonder if there was a longer shot to succeed this past year. (Mike Doughten)
The Mount gives the DMV the best opportunity to win a game in the Big Dance. (Rico Reed)
10. Towson (20-13, 11-7 CAA) 52 points | Previous: 10
Next: Season complete.
Tigers’ Arnaud William Adala Moto, who averaged 12.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per game this season, boasts the best name in the Atlantic 11. (James Schneider)
11. Old Dominion (19-12, 12-6 CUSA) 51 points | Previous: 9
Next: Season complete.
Monarchs’ loss to Marshall proved the old and oddly-specific adage “You can’t go down 15-0 in the conference tournament and hope to win, even if you come back and lead at halftime 29-27.” (Chris Olson)
Returning 84 percent of their scoring and 74 percent of their rebounding next year. That’s Bigly. (James Schneider)
Also receiving votes: Navy 14, William & Mary 7, UMBC 6, Radford 5, JMU 3, Howard 2, American 1, Hampton 1.
Dropped out: William & Mary.