March is not a month for the faint of heart.  March can be magical…and maddening in the same week.  March is where three months of hopes and dreams can be submarined by an unexplainable slump.  March is the month where bubble teams catch fire and play their way into the big dance.  March is the month where RPI and SOS…last four in and first four out come to the forefront.  March is the month where last second shots and curious coaching calls equally infuriate and excite.  March is the month where the DC area schools try to make history before their season is history.

Shamrock Shake PSA– March also means the best beverage on the planet will be available at select McDonald’s locations.  The Shamrock Shake is pure minty goodness…although lately they’ve messed with perfection by adding whip cream and a cherry.  For those who indulge… please get said shake without both.

Georgetown (23-4, 13-3) rides a tidalwave into the final weeks of the regular season.  Otto Porter, Jr. makes his case for Big East Player of the Year by dropping 33 on Syracuse… and then following up with 22 against UConn and 28 more against Rutgers.  He’s hit 50% or more of his shots in 7 of his last 9 games…and as the Hoyas zero in on the conference regular season championship and a potential #1 seed, Hoya Paranoia is in full force.  Bubble team Villanova and not as dangerous as they were 2 weeks ago Syracuse await.

Alma Mater Update– or downdate if you will.  Three straight losses have the Orange (22-7, 10-6) headed in the wrong direction… all potential #1 seed talk scrapped when SU went 4-6 after Inauguration Day (just one win over a team with a winning conference record).  The should beat last place DePaul.  Can they get things together for one final game at Georgetown?  One fears the window is now closed.

Maryland (20-9, 8-8) split its week away from College Park… slipping at Georgia Tech before winning at Wake Forest.  For all of the top ten draft projections Alex Len’s received…the Ukranian sophomore’s been held to single digit scoring in three of his last five games.  Dez Wells has become the offensive engine (19ppg last week) as of late.  When the Terps defend (holding WF to 32%FG while outrebounding the Demon Deacons by 8)…good things happen.  But can this bubble bunch beat North Carolina and then win at Virginia? 

Cruising the Commonwealth– the best of times and worst of times…for the same team.   Virginia (20-9, 10-6) upset 3rd ranked Duke Thursday evening in Charlottesville…only to follow up with a one-point loss at Boston College.  So much for rushing the court.  Virginia Tech (13-16, 4-12) can climb out of the ACC cellar with a win at Wake Forest as they’d own a season sweep of the Demon Deacons…as Erick Green’s winter of non-support hums toward its evenutal end in the ACC Tournament (the senior leads the league with 25 points a game).

George Washington (12-15, 6-8) missed another upset opportunity when they allowed a second half 10-0 run by #18 Saint Louis in their 66-58 loss to the Billikens.  Isaiah Armwood had a rough outing (2-9 shooting) as GW finds itself in 1-5 slide that drops them to 13th in the Atlantic Ten.  The Colonials visit 20-7 La Salle –a team they lost to by nine last month–Wednesdsay.

George Mason (17-13, 10-8) enters March like a roasted lamb with back to back losses against Towson and Delaware–two of the teams they were chasing in the CAA standings.  Even 16 points off the bench from Vertrail Vaughns (Gordon Gartrelle’s alleged cousin) couldn’t pull the Patriots past the Blue Hens…and now they enter one of the more amusing conference tournaments:  the CAA has 11 schools… but Old Dominion and Georgia State are both ineligible because those schools are leaving the conference while UNC-Wilmington and Towson are not participating due to academic issues.

Maryland Womens Window– the 10th ranked Terps (23-6, 14-4) were beaten by conference champ Duke at home before falling at #23 Florida State 72-71 on a last minute lane violation.  After the Terrapins bounced back to blast Wake Forest 88-61 on senior day (18 pts and 11 reb for Tianna Hawkins)…their road through the conference tournament will be as a #2 seed thanks to winning a coin-flip with North Carolina.

American (10-19, 5-9) wrapped up its regular season with an 80-72 loss at Lafayette… one where the Eagles allowed 27 points on 13 turnovers.  After a 3-1 midseason surge, AU enters the Patriot League Tournament on a four game losing streak– failing to reach 50 points in two of those defeats.  The Eagles play Army in the quarterfinals– the Black Knights swept the season series while hitting 9-17 from 3 point range in the first game and 9-18 in the second.

Howard (7-23, 4-12) with its regular season complete awaits the MEAC shuffle– the Bison could finish 10th or 11th, depending on what Coppin State does during its final two games.  It’s never nice having your fate hang in the hands of a 6-23 team.  Especially after blowing a 12 point lead against Delaware State (losing 56-53 in their regular season finale).  Shooting remains an issue:  the team hit just 34% from the field, 22% from 3 point range and 55% from the free throw line in their loss to the Hornets.