Lead Item: Ah, March, you and your craziness. “Madness” if you will. Just because the concept is currently being redefined by Charlie Sheen, it doesn’t mean we can’t take a moment in the lead item today to talk about the local and semi-local hoops teams to the DMV. While the list of regional teams through Virginia, DC and Maryland is lengthy, the somewhat sad news is it is realistic that your rooting interest for a local squad to cut down the nets in the big dance is limited to one of five choices from the Mid-Atlantic:
- Georgetown (24-6, 11-6 conf.) – (Disc.: This bullet also fulfills my “Big East Hater” quotient for the day, cum grano salis folks.) The Big East is required to be overranked and get more teams in than they deserve, but I don’t make the rules. I won’t deny the eligibility – Georgetown has some really quality wins on the books (Syracuse on the road) – but at the same time, standard (Syracuse at home) and middle of the road losses (West Virginia, Cincy at home) will drag down their projected seed to *gasp* a 4.
- George Mason (25-5, 16-2) – By far the hottest team of this group in recent play, Mason hasn’t lost since the first week of January – they’re just #Winning. Heading into the conference tournament, the Patriots – darlings of the big dance back in 2006 – have run straight through most of their in-league slate. While the CAA may not be the best conference in all of the land, it’s still an impressive run that projects to a 7-seed
- Old Dominion (24-6, 14-4) – Boasting a quality win over the team they are chasing in the CAA, the Monarchs have done just enough to remain in the conversation as one of the mid-major at-large teams. A definite benefit of expanding to three more at-large teams this year is that the selection committee has less to worry about when considering a big conference or small conference team, ODU is projected at an 8-seed and pretty safely in the bracket.
- Richmond (22-7, 11-3) – The Spiders have generally done what’s expected: won most of their games, and lost close ones to the ranked teams they chase in the A-10. Their reward could be an 11-seed and a chance to upset early in March.
- Virginia Tech (19-9, 8-7) – After the toppling of Duke over the weekend, it seemed like the Hokies could start planning their dance card for March – until BC came into Blacksburg last night and went off on VT from the perimeter en route to a 15 point win. For now, a 10-seed, but VT could really use a win or two in the ACC tourney to lock that up.
More bracket projections to come later in the month, sans marching bands playing Rage next time. Promise. Here’s the rest of the DC sports scene, courtesy of the Ticker
The Ticker: Talking about things that haven’t happened for a few months, courtesy of a ridiculous backhand in overtime last night from Alex Ovechkin (watch it below), the Caps finally won a game after regulation for the first time since November 28th…one part of Spring Training is ridiculous wire stories about rookies getting a hit in a exhibition – but when it’s about future phenom Bryce Harper going 1 for 2, yes, I’ll share it…the contract buyout firesale continues, as Al Thornton joins Mike Bibby in the list of players who “used to be Wizards.” I still can’t figure out what the move is going to be with all of these contracts off the book, but I joked in an e-mail to Patrick Pho last night, could the Wiz be seriously considering a big sales pitch to potential 2011 free agent Dwight Howard?
Final Number: 2 minutes, 42 seconds. In last night’s OT win over the Islanders, the Caps scored twice in under three minutes (once late in the third before Ovie’s winner just into the extra period). That ends up also as more goals for the home team at Verizon Center in a 2 minute, 42 second time period than the last nine home periods combined, some 177 minutes since Ovechkin netted a second minute goal in a February 12th game against the Kings.