Doesn’t everybody love football signing day!  It’s a major ego-fest for all involved.  The schools get to say “we’ve got a great bunch coming in!”…the teenage high school football players get a lot of attention for putting on a baseball cap…and the “insiders” get to point at which school fared better.  Have you ever heard a coach say “Yeah…we couldn’t convince the top two or three guys on our list, and hope that the kids coming in don’t get us fired”?  Ever hear a player claim “Yeah–I’m settling.  I wanted to go to Tech…but State and A&M offered.  And I don’t even want to go to State-but my parents kinda pressured me”?  Ever hear ESPN say “Man–we though Tech had the best class ever in 2010…we completely whiffed on that.  Let’s be honest, we’re just throwing darts half of the time”?  And it interrupts the beginning of college hoops’ Moving Month…where schools can take their season to the next level.  Or at least avoid the level they currently reside.

Georgetown (13-9, 4-6 Big East) builds off their non-conference win over then #7 Michigan State with a 71-59 victory over DePaul.  Defense dominated with the Hoyas holding both the Spartans and Blue Demons to under 40% shooting.  Jabril Trawick’s return from the jaw injury gives the team a third option…and the junior responded by averaging 13 points and 3 assists in the two wins.  More than halfway through the conference season…two games separate third from eighth place.  The road to redemption continues with a home game against last-place Butler.

Alma Mater Update– when will the run end for this Syracuse (22-0, 9-0 ACC)  team?  Nobody goes unbeaten in major college basketball anymore, at least from one of the major conferences.  The #1 in the nation Orange avoided two natural trap games before and after their victory over #17 Duke by taking care of business at Wake Forest and against Notre Dame.  Will Clemson (surprisingly 6-3 in league play) be the spoiler?  Upcoming trips to Pitt, Duke and Virginia are other likely stumbling spots.

Maryland (13-10, 5-5 ACC) came up short in Chapel Hill for the final time…falling 75-63 to North Carolina.  While NC State will be remembered for keeping Lefty’s teams at bay and Duke became the focus of attention during the Gary Williams era, North Carolina hasn’t necessarily been the focus of anger as much as envy from the Terrapin faithful.  They always seemed to get the best players, win the most games and enroll the cutest co-eds.  And they didn’t hate unless you were Duke–there was just this air of superiority.  And why wouldn’t there be?  The Terps were held to under 40% from the field and 26% from three-point range.  The Tar Heels despite their hoops ADD jumped out to a 19-3 lead and closed the first half with a 15-6 run.  The good news is the Terps have 5 of their last 8 regular season games at home.  The bad news is they face #20 Virginia twice, visit #11 Duke and host #1 Syracuse in that span.

Cruising the Commonwealth– nothing like a season-long trip through the Ralph Sampson era…the standard that all Virginia (18-5, 9-1 ACC) teams measure up to until one wins a National Championship.  While Malcolm Brogdon’s last-second 3 beat Pitt 48-45…the senior had another decent effort in the 77-67 win over Boston College (as the only senior to score in double figures).  Now UVa has just two games remaining against schools with winning conference records:  Clemson and Syracuse.  Virginia Tech (8-14, 1-9 ACC) hopes to score more than 45 against the Cavaliers February 18th…the Hokies losing streak now numbers nine after its fourth straight loss by 20 points or more.  Bad free throw shooting has turned legendarily awful (3-for-9 against the Seminoles). No victories since New Year’s Eve (and Maryland-Eastern Shore).  And they’ve already played Boston College twice.

George Washington (18-4, 6-2 Atlantic 10) responded to their loss at Dayton by defeating Duqesne 71-57…23 assists in 26 made baskets highlighting a well-run offense.  Patricio Garino continues to contribute since being moved into the starting lineup–he’s notched four straight double figure scoring efforts.  After facing Fordham–the Colonials play five straight games against teams with winning A-10 records.

George Mason (7-15, 0-8 Atlantic 10) continues to look for its first Atlantic 10 victory…after six straight heartbreaks (one or two possession losses) the Patriots were blown out by 17 at home by Dayton.  Despite outrebounding the Flyers and Saint Louis…Mason’s turnover troubles (15 against Dayton and 30 against the Billikens) provide quite a cause for concern.  Can they beat Duquesne?  Their two shots at the 10th place Dukes represent their best chances to end the agony.

Maryland Womens Window– consecutive double-digit wins over Syracuse and Pitt return the Terps (18-4, 6-3 ACC) to the top four of the conference… and they’re 0-2 against that group with a February 17th date at Duke looming.  Sophomore Malina Howard’s calf injury forced coach Brenda Frese to juggle her lineup against the Panthers…and freshman Brionna Jones responded with 12 points and 8 rebounds over 18 minutes.  The move allows Alicia DeVaughn to play power forward and Alyssa Thomas to slide into the small forward spot.  This makes the Terps even bigger–and potentially better.

American (14-8, 10-1 Patriot League) came up short at Loyola-Maryland despite shooting over 50% from the field and 3-point range as well as outrebounding the Greyhounds by 8.  Home games with Colgate and Lehigh loom…and the chance to create a cushion between themselves and Boston University before visiting the second place Terriers February 19th.

Howard (6-17, 4-4 MEAC) has not been awesome in some time… so whenever the Bison make baby steps one is encouraged.  And three victories in five games is a start… James Daniel’s fabulous freshman year (23 points against Maryland-Eastern Shore) keeping his streak alive of scoring double figures in every game he’s played this season.  But the schedule shifts from the have-nots to the haves (Hampton’s third and Norfolk State’s second in the league).

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