- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 13, 2008

DELMARVA/D.C. RANKINGS

1. Georgetown (28-6 in 2007-08)

Not as definitive as last year, but the Hoyas are probably the best the area has to offer.

2. Virginia Tech (21-14)

Allen/Delaney/Vassallo troika carries Hokies to the NCAA tournament after a one-year hiatus.

3. Virginia Commonwealth (24-8)

One last go-round of Maynor Mania should send Rams back to the postseason.

4. Maryland (19-15)

Junior guard Greivis Vasquez might be the best player in Delmarva/D.C. Still, he needs a frontcourt.

5. American (21-12)

Potent backcourt of Garrison Carr and Derrick Mercer makes the Eagles the Patriot League favorites.

6. George Mason (23-11)

A down year for the Patriots still yields a record above .500, so don´t expect much of a drop-off.

7. Virginia (17-16)

If Sylven Landesberg immediately thrives, the Cavaliers could exceed expectations.

8. Old Dominion (18-16)

Impressive big man Gerald Lee should carry Monarchs into CAA championship chase.

9. Morgan State (22-11)

Rugged forward Marquise Kately could lead the Bears to their first NCAA tournament.

10. UMBC (24-9)

Assist-to-turnover maestro Jay Greene gives Retrievers shot at consecutive America East titles.

11. Mount St. Mary´s (19-15)

Junior point guard Jeremy Goode lives up to name on offense (5.5 apg) and defense (2.0 spg).

12. Delaware (14-17)

Former Georgetown guard Marc Egerson will help Blue Hens climb higher in the CAA.

13. Loyola (19-14)

Greyhounds seeking four straight winning seasons for first time since 1983-87.

14. Navy (16-14)

A program is more than one player, though Midshipmen will miss Greg Sprink.

15. Hampton (18-12)

Pirates should be near the top of the jumbled MEAC standings.

16. George Washington (9-17)

Colonials have to be better than last winter´s debacle … right?

17. William & Mary (17-16)

Tribe reached CAA title game for first time last season but will be hard-pressed to repeat that run.

18. Delaware State (14-16)

Plodding Hornets always a threat for an upset because of their pace-strangling tactics.

19. Richmond (16-15)

Center Dan Geriot´s season-ending knee injury this summer limits Spiders´ upward mobility.

20. Towson (13-18)

Kevin Durant´s big brother Tony mans the paint for Pat Kennedy´s Tigers.

21. Radford (10-20)

Five starters return for the Highlanders, who could challenge Winthrop for Big South supremacy.

22. Coppin State (16-21)

What a surprise: Fang Mitchell´s defending MEAC champs won´t play a home game until Jan. 10.

23. James Madison (13-17)

Dukes lured Marist´s Matt Brady to take over perennial rebuilding job in Harrisonburg.

24. Norfolk State (16-15)

Loss of Tony Murphy, two other starters means Spartans probably will take a step back.

25. Liberty (16-16)

Seth Curry, brother of a certain Davidson star, is one of several impact freshmen for the Flames.

26. VMI (14-15)

Losing Reggie Williams will hurt, but the up-tempo Keydets still will be fun to watch.

27. Howard (6-26)

Improvement could arrive for Bison, but that´s relative after five straight years with an RPI above 300.

28. Longwood (9-22)

Forward Kirk Williams is academically ineligible this semester and will miss first nine games.

29. Maryland-Eastern Shore (4-28)

Hawks´ revolving door spins again, with former Howard coach Frankie Allen taking charge.

SIX MID-MAJOR STARS NOT NAMED CURRY WORTH WATCHING

Stephen Curry is an ubiquitous presence on any list of mid-major stars, but there are plenty of other must-see players toiling in unexpected places.

G Eric Maynor, Virginia Commonwealth

The star of the Rams´ upset of Duke in the 2007 NCAA tournament remains in Richmond, this year determined to get Anthony Grant´s crew back into the 65-team field. Maynor still does all the things that made him so impressive two years ago: shoot, pass and control a game. He will get help from big man Larry Sanders, who could blossom as a sophomore.

G Lester Hudson, Tennessee-Martin

The nation´s second-leading returning scorer behind Curry, Hudson averaged 25.7 points and 7.8 rebounds for the Skyhawks last year before flirting with a jump to the NBA. He had 25 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals — in a single game. Hudson is one of the best players in the nation — period.

G Osiris Eldridge, Illinois State

Another do-everything option, Eldridge helped lift the Redbirds from mediocrity to within a game of the NCAA tournament. Granted, the Missouri Valley isn´t a one-bid league most years, but Eldridge probably isn´t as well known as some other players to come out of the conference recently. No matter; his will be a name worth remembering when March rolls around.

G Josh Akognon, Cal State Fullerton

A 5-foot-11 dynamo who torched Wisconsin for 31 points in the NCAA tournament, Akognon is probably the best of the mid-major stars out west — not counting Saint Mary´s point guard Patrick Mills from the multibid WCC. Of course, he´s the only starter returning for the Titans, who will rely on him heavily to make a push for another Big West crown.

G Kenny Hasbrouck, Siena

The senior has started every game since arriving on campus. Siena is an intriguing team, bringing back five starters from a squad that throttled Vanderbilt in the NCAA tournament in March. Hasbrouck ignites everything for Siena and figures to be the favorite for MAAC player of the year now that Rider´s Jason Thompson is in the NBA.

F Jonathan Rodriguez, Campbell

The classic mid-major big, Rodriguez is a walking double-double despite a 6-foot-5 frame. That can work in a smaller league like the Atlantic Sun, a league in recent years ruled by Belmont. Campbell has improved in that time, and Rodriguez is the Camels´ best hope to escape the bottom half of a chronically one-bid league.

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