Basketball Around the Beltway: Post-Bowl Edition

WASHINGTON — Now that we are finally through with the bloated postseason of college football where the ridiculous name is often better than the actual game … hold on. There’s one more to be played? Regardless, college hoops comes to the forefront this weekend — albeit without titling every game for added emphasis. Why does football get to have “separation week,” “rivalry week” and “expected blowout against FCS schools week?”

Welcome to a fun weekend in Washington, D.C. … Wisconsin … and other hoop destinations.


Bounceback Bowl:

Noon: Georgetown vs. DePaul. The 9-6 Hoyas lost by double digits the other night at Creighton, and if they want to make an NCAA Tournament run need to pile up victories against the underbelly of the Big East. The Blue Demons don’t just occupy the conference’s underbelly, they’re in the middle of a long-term lease (6-12 last winter, 0-3 to start this year).

Fight for First Place (wink, wink) Bowl:

Noon: Virginia Tech at #15 Duke. Yes, the Hokies and Blue Devils both boast 2-0 ACC records, with Buzz Williams’ team coming off an upset of Virginia. The first place Hokies will find Cameron Indoor a little more challenging than their last true “road” game Dec. 9 at Radford. The Blue Devils may just be too much for the ACC-leading Hokies, although I’ll miss typing “first place” and “Virginia Tech men’s basketball” in the same sentence.

Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold Bowl:

1 p.m.: #3 Maryland at Wisconsin. Mark Turgeon’s program took a big leap forward last winter when they upset the Badgers in College Park. This year interim Badgers coach Greg Gard is looking for his first signature victory. Since Bo Ryan retired, Wisconsin is 4-4 and off to a 1-2 Big Ten start. The Badger faithful are also seething at Milwaukee’s Diamond Stone coming to College Park over nearby Madison.

Gutcheck Bowl:

2 p.m.: #4 Virginia at Georgia Tech. Tough losses to gritty teams in hostile gyms may lead some to think that the Cavaliers are somewhat soft … I won’t even suggest that the Kippy and Buffy tailgate bleeds over into basketball. The Yellowjackets are one of six teams winless in the ACC, and while their losses are to #6 North Carolina and Pitt (no slouches), these aren’t Bobby Cremins’ Yellowjackets. They’re not even Paul Hewitt’s bunch.

Panic Button Bowl:

2 p.m.: American vs Lehigh. The Eagles made the NCAA Tournament two years ago, but find themselves 0-3 in the Patriot League as they welcome the Mountain Hawks to Bender Arena. Senior Jesse Reed’s supporting cast has been less than supporting, and the team hasn’t just lost seven straight, but six of those losses have come by double-digits.

Walking Wounded Bowl:

4 p.m.: Howard vs Coppin State. James Daniel may lead the nation in scoring — but he’s just one guy. Coach Kevin Nickelberry has lost 4 starters to injury in the last month, and has also dropped 6 of 7 games to slip under .500. Can the Bison bounce back against an Eagles team that hasn’t won since Thanksgiving? If they have any MEAC dreams, they better.

Right Time, Wrong Place Bowl (brought to you by Belk):

7 p.m.: George Mason at Davidson. The Patriots under first-year coach Dave Paulsen are off to a 0-2 conference start. The Wildcats? Coach Bob McKillop is in his 27th season at the helm, and leading scorer Jack Gibbs is torching opponents to the tune of 24 points a game. But injuries have kept Davidson seniors Brian Sullivan and Jordan Barham on the shelf the last week, and Mason could be catching the Wildcats at the right time. Only the game’s not in Fairfax — but at always-tough-to-play-in Belk Arena. Hold on … as in the Belk Bowl? I thought this was a football-free Saturday …

Redemption Bowl:

8 p.m.: George Washington vs. Duquesne. The Colonials blew a double-digit lead en route to a 65-62 loss at St Louis, while the Dukes lost at Davidson to drop to 0-2 in conference play. If GW wants to be an Atlantic Ten contender, they can ill afford to lose at home to a team that’s winless in league action. That means 40 solid minutes of execution at the Smith Center.

Dave Preston

Dave has been in the D.C. area for 10 years and in addition to working at WTOP since 2002 has also been on the air at Westwood One/CBS Radio as well as Red Zebra Broadcasting (Redskins Network).

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