Memories are made in March…but in February things are best forgotten.  Tight turnarounds mean huge wins can lead to major letdowns and heartbreaking losses can lead to extended swoons.  Can your team avoid the pitfalls by focusing on “forward”?  Thank goodness the ever-changing bubble can distract us from “what’s now”.

Georgetown (15-10, 6-7 Big East) had its four game winning streak snapped at St John’s 82-60…after limiting turnovers during the recent run the Hoyas coughed up the ball 14 times at MSG.  The offense disappeared at the most inopportune times:  seven missed shots and three turnovers before their first basket…0-4 over the last 3:24 of the first half…0-5 with 4 turnovers over the final 6:45 of regulation.  The Red Storm capitalized and once again Georgetown finds itself with a losing conference record…with a visit to a Seton Hall team that beat them in DC up next.  After that it’s four straight games against the top four teams in the league.  Currently the Hoyas are one of  ESPN’s Joe Lunardi’s “First Four Out”…

Alma Mater Update– can you use up all of your close game mojo in February?  Another one-point decision by the Orange (25-0, 12-0 ACC)–this time at home after a last second three on the road.  On one hand I see a team of destiny that’s coming together in tough spots to make plays and set up a run through March.  On the other hand I see cats dying right and left with the scoreboard climbing to the eventual number nine.  On the uniform front, SU will wear the old orange script jerseys against Boston College…major like.  With blue shorts…minor “why?”.  Bring on the wings…

Maryland (15-12, 7-7 ACC) bounced back from a heartbreaking loss at Duke (with chants of ACC) by beating Wake Forest after a game of multiple runs for both teams.  Nick Faust was the hero with 20 points off the bench…the rest of the team shooting a combined 19-50 from the field and 4-19 from three-point range.  The question now is can the Terps make the NCAA field as an at-large team with four wins to finish the regular season?  They host #1 Syracuse, Virginia Tech and #14 Virginia while visiting a Clemson team that’s dropped three of four.  And they get five days to prepare for an Orange team that will have just played at Duke.  Who’s nervous?

Cruising the Commonwealth– We’re officially in the Jeff Lamp Stratosphere.  Virginia (22-5, 13-1) bounced back from a rough start in Blacksburg to beat Virginia Tech 57-53.  Just 21 points in the first half!?!  Joe Harris and Malcolm Brodgon combine to shoot 5-21?!?  The fact that they were still able to win despite a less than stellar effort proves to be a good sign for Tony Bennett’s team…as there’s always one or two games in the ACC or NCAA Tournament you have to win despite playing poorly if you want to make a deep run.  I’m thinking Saturday in Greensboro…and the Second Weekend in the Big Dance for the first time since 1995.  The Hokies (9-16, 2-11) saw a dream turn into a nightmare by allowing 10 straight points in the second half– not scoring from the 6:30 mark until there were :38 seconds left.  Now the question for the Hokies is will they be able to avoid last place in the ACC?  They won’t be favored at home against NC State or North Carolina… and visit Duke, Maryland and Georgia Tech (likely their best chance at a win).  They’d need to finish one game better than Boston College as they were swept by the Eagles–and BC’s only been able to beat Va Tech in ACC play this winter.

George Washington (20-6, 8-4 Atlantic 10) picked up a huge win at Richmond– one week after falling at VCU and a few days after slipping at home to UMass.  The Colonials dominated the glass in a 73-65 win over the Spiders–moving a half game ahead of Richmond in the A-10 standings.  Maurice Creek coming off the bench now gives coach Mike Lonergan’s thinning rotation a much-needed shot in the arm .  Now George Washington prepares for its only regular season matchup with first place Saint Louis–at the 10th ranked Billikens on February 22nd.  HOW IS GW ON THE ROAD FOR GEORGE WASHINGTON’S BIRTHDAY?

George Mason (9-16, 2-9 Atlantic 10)– so much for that second half surge in conference play.  The Patriots’ longest winning streak in A-10 history ends at two…as Mason slips at home to St. Bonaventure 85-73.  Outshot, outrebounded and unable to take care of the basketball again… marring decent efforts from Bryon Allen (26 points on 10-13 shooting) and Sherrod Wright (20).  Right now the Patriots are tied for last in the league with Rhode Island and Fordham…but both Rams own the tiebreakers over GMU.  And coach Paul Hewitt’s team has just one game left against a school with a losing record in conference play (Duquesne).

Maryland Women’s Window– sometimes hitting a ceiling is painful.  The  #8 Terps (20-5, 8-4) 84-63 loss at #7 Duke saw the team fail to stop the Blue Devils at crucial points (a 10-0 run in the first half giving Duke the lead for good and an 11-0 second half surge putting the game away).  Alyssa Thomas began the night 1-8 from the field–and unfortunately there wasn’t another big dog to bail the Terps out.  There are a lot of complimentary players on this roster but due to a combination of injuries, youth and inconsistency nobody was able to make the leap to join Thomas on the big dog level.  That’s not to say this team doesn’t have the chance to be great.  But until they find money option number two–they’ll continue to be 1-4 against ranked opponents and 3-3 on the road in the ACC.  Consecutive games against NCAA hopefuls Florida State and Georgia Tech will add further light to exactly how good this team will be come March.

American (15-10, 11-3 Patriot League)– the Eagles find themselves at Boston University battling for the Patriot League lead…fresh off a 74-62 loss at Lafayette.  Three losses in four games against schools with losing league records is not ideal in February…as AU was outrebounded in two of those three games and allowed the Leopards to shoot 60% from the field.  They beat BU by 20 in January…expect a much closer game this week.

Howard (6-20, 4-7 MEAC) had their hearts broken at Maryland-Eastern Shore…wasting an 11-point halftime lead in an 87-73 defeat.  James Daniel’s 33 points were for naught…as 19 turnovers and a minus-5 rebounding margin doomed them the day after Valentine’s Day.  The loss was Howard’s 20th of the year– marking the 11th straight season the Bison have dropped at least that many.  Offensive efficiency is not a hallmark for this team…as the 8.4 assists per game have the Bisons ranked 351st in Division I.  And there are 351 schools competing. 

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