March Madness begins late next week, but before we get there, we have to stop at Selection Sunday, where dreams are realized and bubbles are burst.
Entering this weekend, several D.C.-area college basketball teams were trying to strengthen their resumes, but that did not happen as every significant local program lost.
American University (bias aside, as I am an alum) and George Mason University, who needed wins in their respective conference tournaments and the automatic bids that come with them to qualify for the NCAA Tournament, lost. The Eagles fell to Lehigh, 85-66, in the Patriot Leegue semifinals, while the Patriots fell behind 32-4 in the first half to Virginia Commonwealth and never recovered in a 74-64 loss in the Colonial Athletic Association semifinals.
Maryland, once at the top of the heap, is now struggling to avoid the cellar in the ACC. On Senior Day in College Park, the Terps rallied from a 12-point deficit in the second half to send their game with Virginia to overtime, but Cavaliers senior Mike Scott scored a career-high 35 points in his final regular season game as the Cavs held off the Terps, 75-72.
The Terps now look toward the ACC Tournament, which begins in Atlanta Thursday against Wake Forest. The winner of that game will face top-seeded North Carolina. A spirited run in the ACC Tournament could help Maryland, but that seems unlikely.
Georgetown lost, too, but the Hoyas are sure to be included in the NCAA Tournament despite a loss to Marquette by a 83-69 score Saturday. The always-exciting Big East Tournament is coming up and the Hoyas are the only D.C. team likely to make it to the "Big Dance." Enjoy the preview this weekend.