Maryland received quite a bit of grief last week when the students rushed the Comcast Center court after the Terps squeaked by #14 North Carolina State…and I have to admit I have stormed the court on more than one occasion.  Once in high school involving Manchester West’s 78-76 double overtime upset of defending NH State Champ Nashua… and once in college when 10th ranked Syracuse nipped #7 Georgetown 89-87 in OT to win the Big East Regular Season Championship.  I also stormed the football field– but that was when the beleaguered Blue Knights ended a 31 game drought.  I understand the sports-snobbiness…”You should act like you’ve been there before” and “You can only rush the floor if you beat top-ranked team”… but the vast majority of these 18-22 year olds haven’t been there before.  And a good chunk of them won’t be there again.  Even when it’s obviously inappropriate and clearly lame, rushing the court should be a part of the college experience.  Years later the kids can remember how incredible the experience was or what absolute tools they were because they ran on the floor when their school beat a team barely ranked.

Georgetown (13-4, 3-3) continues its winter as the toughest read in the region– holding #24 Notre Dame to 35% shooting in a 63-47 thumping two days after coughing up 38 points in the second half of a loss to South Florida (although they held the Bulls without a basket for the final six and a half minutes of the game).  How much the Hoyas will miss the academically hamstrung Greg Whittington (second on the team in scoring and rebounding) as the Big East season progresses is anybody’s guess;  they’re 3-1 since the forward was sidelined and got 10 rebounds from Moses Ayegba against Notre Dame.  Aye Carumba!

Alma Mater Update– consecutive fantastic finishes for the Cardiac Cuse (18-1, 6-0)…a pair of 2 point victories where Michael Carter-Williams came up huge:  the freshman scored the go-ahead basket and all four SU points, notched two steals and a defensive rebound in the final minute of a 70-68 win over #1 Louisville…while knocking down a huge three that was the centerpiece of the Orange’s 9-1 finishing kick that resulted in a 57-55 win over #21 Cincinnati.

Maryland (14-4, 2-3) followed up a heart-stopping upset of #14 North Carolina State with an underwhelming effort in a 62-52 loss at North Carolina.  Washed away was top-notch defense on the Wolfpack (31%) and Alex Len’s last second tip-in…instead an offense that struggles (20 points and 15 turnovers in the first half against UNC) and the lack of a viable third option become the red flags that we’ll see raised early and often…with trips to Cameron (and #1 Duke) as well as Tallahassee coming up before the end of the month.  The dreaded 11am Saturday Hangtime battle with Villanova looms.

Cruising the Commonwealth– two completely different wins Saturday– Virginia (12-5, 2-2) used a 22-4 first half run against Florida State to blast the Seminoles 56-36. Seriously, 36 points? What is this, junior high? Defense (holding FSU to 37% FG and 1-15 3pters) and rebounding (28-20 advantage) become even more important in today’s world of offensive offenses.  Virginia Tech (11-6, 2-2) needed a Robert Brown jumper with 12 seconds left to nip Wake Forest 66-65…as the Hokies continue their cardiac campaign (VT’s last 3 wins coming by one point or in OT). Thursday UVa meets Va Tech in Blacksburg. Gametapes likely will not be sent to Springfield and the Hall of Fame.

George Mason (11-7, 4-2) is one-third through its conference slate after holding Hofstra to 23% shooting in a 57-46 win over the Pride.  Sherrod Wright (18ppg) remains the Patriots lone legitimate scoring threat– not an ideal situation for a team that faces CAA leader Northeasterns and second place Towson over the next week.

George Washington (8-9, 2-2) got a huge road win at UMass 79-76…their first away from the Smith Center since November 28th.  Joe McDonald’s 16 points and 10 assists coming up huge on a day where Isaiah Armwood (3-9FG, 4PF) didn’t enjoy his best afternoon.  Is there a chance for momentum?  After a road test at sub-500 Rhode Island, the Colonials have consecutive home games for the final time this season.  If they want to finish in the top ten of the Atlantic Ten, now is the time to make a move…

Maryland Womens’ Window– ANOTHER KNEE?  Freshman Tierney Pfirman dislocated her knee Saturday during practice and will have an MRI this week.  She’s the third starter (Brene Moseley and Laurin Mincy) and fourth player (Essense Townsend) to go down with a knee injury this season…leaving the Terps with SIX players they recruited to play basketball in College Park.  Still, the #10 Terps topped Georgia Tech 66-57 behind 28 points & 10 rebounds from Alyssa Thomas…while Tianna Hawkins adds 16 points and 14 boards.  Will Alicia DeVaughn’s double double (11pts-12reb) be an isolated incident or the start of something special?  Eleventh ranked North Carolina comes to Comcast Thursday…and the Terps are still stinging from a 60-57 loss in Chapel Hill less than three weeks ago.

American (6-12, 1-2) suffered another lackluster effort in a 79-60 loss at Holy Cross.  Coach Jeff Jones’ frustration continues as his team gets burned from outside (Crusaders hit 13 of 21 from 3).  Thank goodness for double-double machine Stephen Lumpkins (8 so far this winter)…or AU would be AW–as in awful.  Daniel Munoz needs to find his shot–the senior’s hitting 32% from the field and 29% from 3 point range in conference play–for the Eagles to turn around what’s been a rough winter thus far.  Navy and Army are next before Patriot League leading Bucknell comes to Bender.

Howard (4-16, 1-5) isn’t in panic mode… but four straight losses is not ideal.  Less ideal is failing to reach the 50-point mark in six of their last seven games.  Even less awesome is being held in the 30’s in consecutive games…Saturday shooting 25% from the field while hitting 26% Monday night in a 71-36 loss to North Carolina Central.  The key for opponents:  shutting down Bison leading scorer Mike Phillips (13-41 from the field during the four game slide).

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