We’re roughly one-third of the way through the college basketball regular season. In the DMV (D.C., Maryland, Virginia), there are five teams all off to very different starts with very different storylines.
Howard and Georgetown are both below .500, GW has a signature win over South Carolina but has also lost to a new D1 team, while Maryland is the best team in the area and American is the biggest surprise.
Here, we’ll rank the teams 1-5 to see how they’re doing as they all either start or ease into conference play.
Head Coach: Kevin Willard (1st season at Maryland)
Record: 8-3 (1-1 in Big Ten)
Signature Win(s): vs. Illinois, vs. Miami
Bad Loss(es): N/A
The Terps are the best team in the DMV by seemingly a wide margin. Where they might have a similar record to American, the ‘quality losses’ between the two are incomparable.
UM has losses @ Wisconsin, vs. #7 Tennessee and vs. #16 UCLA. Unfortunately for Maryland, they were held to 60 or less in all three of those defeats, including a 27 point drubbing at the hands of UCLA in College Park.
The Terps have two more “cupcake” games vs. Saint Peters and UMBC before entering the Big 10 gauntlet for the remainder of the year. At this point next month, we should have a much better sense of where this team is at.
Regardless, Maryland is off to a much better start than I think most anticipated in the first season under head coach Kevin Willard.
Head Coach: Mike Brennan (10th season, 116-153 record at American)
Record: 8-3 (0-0 in Patriot)
Signature Win(s): @ Georgetown, @ George Washington
Bad Loss(es): N/A
In my opinion, this is by far the easiest team to get behind in the DMV.
AU had no expectations this year and granted it’s still early. Besides Patrick Ewing at Georgetown, Mike Brennan had probably the hottest seat of any coach entering the 2022-23 season.
His seat has certainly gotten more comfortable through ten games with signature local wins over Georgetown and George Washington.
At writing, the Eagles have won eight straight games after starting 0-2. The team plays great defense and is very efficient inside the three point arc. *AU dropped a heartbreaker right as I'm publishing. A tough 64-61 loss at home to Siena.
If Maryland doesn’t get a bid to the NCAA Tournament, the DMV’s next best and probably only other chance to get one is American. The Patriot League is winnable and AU is positioned to be near the top of the conference.
Head Coach: Chris Caputo (1st season at GW)
Record: 6-4 (0-0 in Atlantic 10)
Signature Win(s): vs. South Carolina
Bad Loss(es): vs. UC San Diego, vs. American
It was the final day of November when the Colonials were riding the high of high’s. GW opened up a massive lead over SEC opponent South Carolina and coasted to a resounding 79-55 victory.
Just three days later, that same South Carolina team defeated Georgetown.
Since that signature win, however, GW has lost two of three, including a brutal loss to local rival American. It’s been a frustrating and wildly inconsistent start for Chris Caputo’s team in his first season at the helm.
As GW gears up for conference play in a consistently brutal Atlantic 10, they can fortunately say they have the most prolific scorer in the DMV, in this writer's opinion.
James Bishop is scoring 22 points per game for the Colonials, which is 7th in the country. In a loss against Hofstra early in the year, the senior guard scored a whopping 44 points, which is the most by any player in college basketball all season.
As long as Bishop is healthy and on the floor, GW has a chance in any game it plays. They just have to find more consistency. Long way to go.
Head Coach: Kenny Blakeney (4th season, 28-54 record at Howard)
Record: 7-8 (0-0 in MEAC)
Signature Win(s): @ Harvard, vs. Buffalo
Bad Loss(es): N/A
Howard above Georgetown because they have won a conference game in this calendar year.
They Bison have been all over the road this season. Most recently, they’ve won three straight games after losing three straight games.
Howard is in the MEAC, which will send just one team to the NCAA Tournament this year. In non-conference play, only one of eight teams finished above .500, and Howard has the second best record at 7-8.
The Bison are going to be in the mix for a conference regular season title but of course it’ll all come down to the conference tournament in March.
Besides Maryland and American, Howard is probably the DMV’s next best bet to make the ‘Big Dance.’
Head Coach: Patrick Ewing (6th season, 73-92 record at Georgetown)
Record: 5-8 (0-2 in Big East)
Signature Win(s): N/A
Bad Loss(es): vs. Loyola Marymount, vs. American
The Hoyas have lost 22 straight Big East conference games. The last time Georgetown won a conference matchup was the Big East title game over Creighton in March 2021.
That was a long time ago and head coach Patrick Ewing is presenting more questions than answers in his sixth season in charge of the program.
The narrative around the team is almost entirely pessimistic, with fans wondering if the Hoyas can scrounge together just one win in the conference this season and of course questioning how much longer the legendary Ewing will last as the head coach.
In their most recent game, however, Georgetown played great. On the road against #2 UConn, the Hoyas led in the second half and held their own before the Huskies eventually pulled away for a 84-73 win.
Up next, Georgetown has one of its most winnable games on the entire schedule as the Hoyas travel to DePaul.
Just win a conference game. It’s been 20 months.