The Washington Times - December 21, 2008, 09:38PM

So quick thoughts on four Delmarva/D.C. teams seen in the last three nights…

George Masonis, well, a typical George Mason team. The Patriots play great defense, don’t turn it over and have multiple offensive options.

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It was clear from Friday’s victory over Radford that Cam Long is increasingly secure in his role as Mason’s point guard. It wasn’t something he was ready for last year, but his shooting is going to open things up for John Vaughan and Dre Smith down the road.

Forward Darryl Monroe was ineffective because of back spasms, and it’s clear Mason can ill afford to lose him for long stretches. Mason can win with a lineup loaded with guards on some nights, but Monroe’s inside presence will go a long way to determining whether the Patriots can win another CAA title. However, they were fine against …

Radford (3-7), which has a few interesting pieces in guard Martell McDuffy and forward Art Parakhouski. But the Highlanders weren’t overly impressive, and much of that comes from facing a superior Mason team.

Coach Brad Greenberg inherited a significant rebuilding project – heck, even Radford’s arena is being renovated. There might have been a little too much buzz about the Highlanders making a Big South push, but Winthrop, High Point and UNC Asheville all appear to be down by their respective recent standards.

It is still early, and Radford merits credit for keeping things remotely close while playing zone nearly all night against a team with plenty of shooters. Like so many other teams, it’s too early to tell that much…

Another team not looking for a snap judgment is American (5-5), which struggled for much of December before using a strong first half to run past UMBC on Saturday night.

The book on the Eagles is they have a superlative backcourt, and there’s no question both Garrison Carr and Derrick Mercer will dictate just how far American can go. There was the sense in the first half Carr probably could have scored 40 or 50 against the Retrievers. He finished with 34, a career-high as the Eagles head into Comcast Center.

Mercer is a point shy of 1,000 for his career, and his ruggedness inside was impressive. He and Carr play off each other quite well, and will be a pain for the Patriot League to contend with in the coming months.

One cause for pause: Both guards played 40 minutes in a game the Eagles won by 13 and led at one stage by 26. That probably won’t matter too much in the long term, since American will settle into a Wednesday/Saturday game routine before too long. But it wouldn’t be a surprise if either is a bit weary tomorrow night…

… UMBC coach Randy Monroe rather emphatically pointed to a major issue the Retrievers are facing.

Wily point guard Jay Greene rarely makes bad decisions and just about matched American’s Carr in showing off his outside range. Forward Darryl Proctor is as tough as they come despite being listed at 6-foot-4 and will give Vermont’s Marqus Blakely a run for America East player of the year.

But three other guys are on the floor, and UMBC needs them to contribute as well.

Monroe has six players averaging at least 25 minutes. Everyone else combined has played 76 minutes in 10 games.

The path to another NCAA berth – beyond continued sound play from Greene and Proctor – must include getting more production from the third, fourth and fifth options and any production from the seventh, eighth and (maybe) ninth guys.

That said, the relentless Proctor is a treat to watch. A trip to Catonsville to see him is well worth it. …

Hopefully, that won’t be the last chance to get a quick look or two at some locals and pseudo-locals this season. But for now, here’s this week’s full rundown of the 29 Division I teams in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and D.C.

No./Team

Record

Pvs. 

1. Georgetown

8-1

1

2. Maryland

7-2

2

3. George Mason

7-2

5

4. Virginia Tech

8-4

6

5. VCU

7-4

3

6. Liberty

6-3

4

7. Old Dominion 

8-2

10

8. George Washington

5-2

12

9. Navy

8-3

7

10. American

5-5

8

11. Virginia

4-4

10

12. VMI 

9-2

11

13. Towson

5-5

13

14. UMBC

5-5

14

15. Richmond

5-5

15

16. Delaware

5-6

18

17. Hampton

5-4

16

18. Morgan State

4-6

17

19. Loyola

4-7

19

20. Longwood

6-6

21

21. James Madison

6-4

20

22. William & Mary

4-6

24

23. Longwood

5-5

20

24. Radford

3-7

22

25. Coppin State

1-7

25

26. Delaware State

2-13

27

27. Howard

1-7

26

28. Norfolk State

1-8

28

29. UMES

1-6

29

Patrick Stevens