Since the NCAA started inviting at-large teams to its tournament in 1975…there’s always been talk about “the bubble”.  When 32 teams were in the field, team #33 would get mad.  Same case with team #65 from 1985-2000…and now team #69 feels they got hosed.  A few area teams find themselves on the wrong side of the cut line–Maryland’s last big chance to jumpstart a season saving run may have passed–and a few are checking every day to see where they stand.  For the moment.

Georgetown (16-11, 7-8 Big East) is right on the bubble– or at least they were Monday.  The Hoyas are currently a 12th seed on…while being the sixth school out on ESPN.COM.  The Hoyas have three potential profile raising games before the conference tournament– first at Marquette (8-6 in the league) and consecutive tests against top-10 Creighton and Villanova.  March will be fun on the hilltop…

Alma Mater Update– let’s just say this has been a rough month.  Syracuse (26-2, 13-2 ACC) lost at home to Boston College…hands down one of the worst teams in a major conference this winter.  The Orange then lost a heartbreaker at #5 Duke–in a game sealed by coach Jim Boehein getting ejected for the first time in his career.  To top things off– SU barely won at Maryland Monday night despite turning the Terps over 18 times.  This team’s destiny is in games decided by one or two possessions in the 50’s… maybe the 60’s if you get to overtime.  Who’s ready for Virginia?

Maryland (15-13, 7-8 ACC) continued its season of “not quite” in their 57-55 loss to #4 Syracuse.  At least the numerous Syracuse fans that were at Comcast weren’t chanting “ACC…” after the two point heartbreaker.  The missed foul call stings…but so should the 18 turnovers and not being able to contain Tyler Ennis for most of the game.  Instead of a signature win the Terps come up short again– like they did at Duke and at home to Pitt.  Now one tries to figure out if they can get a run towards the NIT together…they visit Clemson Saturday before games against Virginia Tech and Virginia.

Cruising through the Commonwealth– must the ACC schedule Cavalier and Hokie games at the same time? Virginia (23-5, 14-1 ACC) officially puts the Ralph Sampson era to bed…as the Cavaliers improve to 14-1 in the ACC (granted, they only played 14 league games back in ’81…but still) by another strong finishing kick.  UVa went on a 25-0 run to put away Notre Dame… the Irish missing 10 straight shots in that span.  A top four seed (#3-ESPN, #4-CBS) is projected by the experts…and at 14-1 the team owns a one and a half game lead for the ACC Regular Season title.   Virginia Tech (9-18, 2-13 ACC) wishes they had Miami on their schedule one more time as the only team they’ve been able to beat in conference play has been the Hurricanes.  Another Saturday, another tough conference loss in which they play well but not well enough (71-64 to NC State).  Another day where if you were channel-surfing, you got to see a Virginia rout while your team went down the tubes despite a late rally.  Clearly best of times…worst of times.

George Washington (20-7, 8-5 Atlantic 10) had a chance to upset #10 Saint Louis in their building Saturday…but went 0-4 from the field over the last minute of a 66-59 loss to the Billikens.  Shooting 32% ruined an evening where GW won the battle of the boards and was able to turn Saint Louis over 14 times.  The loss bumps the Colonials down to sixth place in the conference (one-half game behind  UMass, VCU and Richmond) with a game against George Mason on the horizon.  Of those four teams… GW is the only one that has to face just one school with a winning league record over the remainder of the regular season.  The current seed…:  8 by CBS and ESPN.

George Mason (9-17, 2-10 Atlantic 10) feels the brunt of the jockeying for third place in the conference with games against Richmond and George Washington coming up Richmond Wednesday.  The Patriots try to avoid last place…they currently own the tiebreaker with Duquesne and host the Dukes to wrap up the regular season.  We’re #11…

Maryland Womens Window– The final stretch is here for the Terps (22-5, 10-4 ACC) who won games against NCAA contenders Florida State and Georgia Tech…With games remaining against Boston College and Virginia Tech (both boast 3-11 ACC records) a 12-4 conference mark is highly likely.  That means a likely top-4 seed in the ACC Tournament:  an NC State loss to unbeaten Notre Dame would give the Terps the 3rd seed– and set them on a likely course with Duke for the ACC Semifinals.

American (16-11, 12-4 Patriot League) bounced back from a tough loss at Boston University…edging Army 58-54 in a game where Jesse Reed nets 21 points and 7 rebounds.  Can they catch Boston University?  AU faces  Navy Wednesday and Bucknell over the weekend…and while the Midshipmen aren’t having a great year the Bison just upset league-leading BU.  The Terriers (one game up in the standings) visit Army and Holy Cross- both teams boasting winning conference records.

Howard (6-22, 4-9 MEAC) tries to end a five game losing streak…as the freefall continues with a 66-60 loss to Norfolk State that came in part thanks to getting outrebounded by the Spartans.  Can they make a dent in their final Saturday-Monday roadswing of the season at Delaware State and Coppin State?   One home game remains–against a Morgan State team that’s 11-3 so far in league play.