Maryland (13-7, 3-3): The Terps are sitting right in the middle the ACC Conference with a 3-3 record right now. With a close shave win over Virginia Tech, Maryland sparked some fire after playing Duke early last week. With a newly christened Gary Williams Court in College Park, Maryland’s squad feeds off the energy of the Comcast Center. There is no question that they execute better with the help of students and fans as their sixth man. With that said, however, Maryland is a young team and have a lot of potential coming into the next several years. Blowing a 15-point lead is simply unacceptable in conference play, however they kept strides to pull off a W, just barely breaking its three-game losing streak. Stoglin is Maryland’s golden child, he seems to only be getting better, more consistent, and learning as he goes along. You feel for him when they lose and celebrate with him when they win. Maryland’s biggest concern is how young they are. They need to beef up on defense along the perimeter and really drive in the zone. They will fall into their zone…eventually. Maryland plays the Hurricanes in Miami Wednesday.
Georgetown (16-4, 6-3): There are things that Georgetown needs to improve on: Defense and rebounding. A 6-5 team in the Big East Conference, they too often attempt wild three’s to try and catch up to teams with a significant point advantage and that simply doesn’t work out in their favor. Consistency needs to be key, There’s no question this team could remain in the top 10 for the next month. It’s up to them to keep it that way. Too many inconsistencies with Thompson, Clark, and Starks. Some days they are all on fire, and when that happens, you can’t even try to stop them. But too often, with a frustrating amount of missed (and often game-costing) free throws, all three are never on the same page, blowing hot and cold every other game. What’s the cure? Perhaps not taking a week off break in-between games. Not allowing the opposing team to score those easy baskets? I’m confident that the energy and support from the underclassmen will no doubt get the Hoyas out of their rut and can easily bounce back after the loss from Pitt. Focusing on execution and driving right in the lane what’s necessary in the next few conference games. They will face UConn on Wednesday at Verizon.
American (14-8, 5-2): The Eagles are a team who can almost be called an elite Patriot League team but stand just bellow the cusp of true success. Head Coach Jeff Jones’ Eagles have had a very respectable year, but have really struggled on the road and have managed to only tally four road wins all of this year. Perhaps the biggest losses on the road have come against Bucknell, the top team in the league, and Lehigh, the team AU is tied with. Charles Hinkle and Troy Brewer have been the motor behind the offense with freshman John Schoof helping out here and there. The biggest difference about this team is it’s size. AU has never had a team with this kind of size and if they can figure out how to win on the road, then they could really make some noise towards the end of the league play and in the Patriot League Tournament. Games Feb. 9 at home against Lehigh and Feb. 23 against Bucknell are as close to must win as you can get and are games no one will want to miss.
Virginia (17-3, 4-2): Would you have believed me if I told you the Cavaliers were only a game back of Duke and UNC halfway through the League in October? To be fair I probably wouldn’t have even believed myself. UVA is on their way to perhaps one of their most successful sports seasons in the last decade and are in prime position to make some noise in the ACC. With two games left against Florida State and two against UNC, Virginia very much still controls their own destiny, but will have to play almost flawless basketball to leapfrog two of the perennial powers in their conference. If it weren’t for losses to TCU and Va. Tech, the Cavaliers would be an almost shoe-in for a top five seed in the big show. Senior Mike Scott is a scoring and rebounding machine and will need to continue to be UVA’s best player down the stretch if they want to make some noise in the tournament come March.
George Washington (8-13, 3-4): GWU’s season started out so promising with wins in four of their first five games, including a win over a very good University of Detroit team. Not long after that start though, the wheels sort of fell of the wagon. The calendar turned from November to December and the Colonials couldn’t buy a win to save their lives, losing their next seven games and getting their only win of the month on New Years Eve against Delaware State. At 3-4 in the A10, there is little chance for a cinderella run for a once proud GWU team. It may finally be time for the team to start looking towards the future and playing some of their prospect guys, as their season is pretty much done.
George Mason (18-5, 10-1): George Mason, Cinderella Final Four darlings just a couple years ago, find themselves sitting top the Colonial Athletic at 10-1, one game ahead of Virginia Commonwealth. The Patriots are led by forward Ryan Pearson, averaging 17.5 PPG and 8.8 RPG, shooting 51.2 percent from the floor. Byron Allen is the court General, dishing out 3.5 assist per game. But the Patriots are a deep team, with seven players averaging more than 7.7 points per game. They are the highest scoing team in the CAA as well as the third best three-point shooters, led by Pearson. With seven games remaining, they appear to be primed headed toward the conference tournament. Big games loom against VCU (Feb. 14 and Feb. 25) and Old Dominion (Feb. 4).