Scoring shouldn’t be that difficult in college basketball.  Yet for some reason there’s a preponderance of teams posting totals in the 40’s… and I’m not even going to address Georgetown’s 37-36 win over Tennessee.  Much like getting 400 points for signing your name to the SAT’s…in the shot-clock era a team should be able to post 50 points just by rolling the balls out.

Georgetown (10-2) lost its Big East opener 49-48 at Marquette… missing a free throw with under ten seconds  left that would have pushed the game into OT.  The Hoyas once again were plagued with first half shooting troubles (a 3 for 15 start against the Golden Eagles)… and finish with less than 50 points for the third time this year.  A huge test looms against #24 Pitt Tuesday;  the Panthers are 0-3 in Big East play while the Hoyas can ill afford an 0-2 league start.

Alma Mater Update– the Orange dream of an unbeaten season ran into 15 missed free throws and 2 for 10 three point shooting against Temple.  The Big East season began with a bang (78-53 over Rutgers) followed by a whimper (55-44 over South Florida).  At least the Orange got 23 offensive rebounds in their win over the Bulls.  Providence and Villanova loom while SU tries not to look ahead to #3 Louisville January 19th.

Maryland (13-1) began ACC play with a bang– a 94-71 win over Virginia Tech.  The Terps entered league play with 12 straight wins but have a strength of schedule that resides in the 260’s.   A fabulous freshman class that includes post (Shaquille Cleare and Charles Mitchell) and perimeter (Seth Allen and Jake Layman) play gives the program a shot in the arm.  Add in an Alex Len that doesn’t disappear when he turns sideways…and you have a team that could shake up the standings.  A Wednesday night matchup with  defending ACC champ Florida State will show if this team is a pretender or a contender.

Cruising the Commonwealth– with Virginia Tech (9-5) going from “best start since 1984” to back to back to back blowout losses… it’s going to be a reset-button season for James Johnson.  At least they have high-scoring Erick Green (#2 in the nation, tops in the ACC).  Virginia (11-3) began the season with a loss to George Mason…and also saw a loss to Old Dominion.  Even in today’s world of parity…it’s never ideal for an ACC school to drop multiple games to in-state opponents.  But all is forgiven when you beat North Carolina…and a 15-2 second half run delivers a 61-52 victory to the Cavaliers.  Joe Harris is deadly from outside (47% from 3-pt range)–but what happens when somebody slows him down?

George Mason (8-6) rallied on the road to beat William & Mary 73-66… the team stands 1-1 in the CAA after a November/December where only GMU and the Tribe posted winning records..  One Patriot that does stand out:  Sherrod Wright is the only Patriot scoring in double figures (18.5ppg) and has been a force (54% FG, 43% from 3-pt range).  How ripe is the league for plucking?  Mason won’t meet a team with a winning mark until February 25th.

George Washington (6-7) suffered a snakebitten stretch where the Colonials lost three straight one-possession games.  Villanova transfer Isaiah Armwood (13ppg, 8rpg)  is the centerpiece in year two of the Mike Lonergan era.  The Atlantic Ten doesn’t get any easier with VCU and Butler joining the conference this year–bringing the total membership to SIXTEEN SCHOOLS.  And you thought the Big Ten was out of hand.

Maryland Womens Window– a ten point lead at #15 North Carolina turned into a ten point deficit as the Tar Heels began the second half on a 17-1 run…and the Terps lost in Chapel Hill 60-57 despite getting a great look at a game-tying three with time running out.  With a small bench (four reserves with the addition of volleyball senior Caitlin Adams) there is minimal margin for  error.  A third scoring threat needs to emerge– as only Tianna Hawkins and Alyssa Thomas scored in double figures at UNC.  Sunday the Terps topped #18 Florida State 71-64…as Thomas and Hawkins hit 17 of 30 shots and the rest of the team goes 11 for 33.  The schedule doesn’t get any easier with Miami coming to Comcast Thursday.

American (5-10) tips off Patriot League play January 12th after a non-conference slate that saw early thrills (wins over Quinnipiac and Mount Saint Mary’s) as well as more than a few chills (36 points against Minnesota, 42 against Columbia and 48 against Georgetown) and spills (losing winnable games to Howard, Hampton and FAU).  The Eagles boast a double double machine in Stephen Lumpkins (6 so far for AU’s leading scorer and rebounder) but little else (although if there’s a time for Daniel Munoz to make the leap, now’s the time).

Howard (4-12) evened up its MEAC record with a 70-60 win at Coppin State…after meeting a barrage of threes (35 of the Eagles 61 shots came from outside the arc).  While Mike Phillips continues to be a picture of consistency (his 15 points marked his 10th double figure night in 11 games)… Simuel Frazier’s 13 points and 8 assists hopes to be a 2013 trend.  If the Bison get decent point guard play, they’ll be interesting in conference play.

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