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So, was there a football game on last night or something?
In all seriousness, the football season is over and it's very sad, but cheer up, folks. There's only five more weeks to get through until Selection Sunday and the start of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. And in our second edition of Beltway Bracketology, we find that unlike in the Super Bowl, D.C. basketball fans will have a lot of rooting interests.
Ready? Here we go.
1. Georgetown (18-5 overall, 7-4 Big East). RealTimeRPI rank: 5th
The Hoyas ran their winning streak to six straight after back-to-back home squeakers over Louisville and Providence. If the season ended today, they'd look real good for a No.3 or No. 4 seed, but they'll face a big test Wednesday night on the road against a suddenly rejuvenated Syracuse team.
This week: Wednesday at Syracuse (7:00 p.m., ESPN), Sunday vs. Marquette (1:00 p.m., ESPN).
2. George Mason (19-5 overall, 11-2 Colonial Athletic Association). RealTimeRPI rank: 24th.
Avenged their only two conference losses in fine style this week, throttling Hofstra by 19 points and Old Dominion by 17 points. It's still a bit too early in the season to say the Patriots are peaking at the right time, but they have the longest winning streak of anyone on this list (nine games) and have turned the Patriot Center into a fortress (they're 12-0 in Fairfax this season). However, GMU will have to be wary of a classic trap game coming up Tuesday night at UNC-Wilmington before heading home to face James Madison on Saturday.
For more on George Mason and coach Jim Larranaga, check out this piece I wrote about them over the weekend.
Tournament Prognosis: The Patriots are in a two-way tie for first place in what's likely to be a two-bid league, so their chances are quite good at the moment. I can see them being slotted in the field as a No. 9, 10, or 11 seed.
This week: Tuesday at UNC-Wilmington (7:00 p.m., MASN), Saturday vs. James Madison (5:00 p.m., CSN).
3. Maryland (15-8, 5-4 ACC). RealTimeRPI rank: 77th.
Lost their final shot at a resume-building win against Duke this week. Now their fate rests on a strong showing in their final seven conference games in a weak ACC. It can be done, but the bubble is a very unfamiliar place for a Gary Williams team, and that's exactly where Maryland is at the moment.
Tournament Prognosis: If the season ended today, Maryland would be out.
This week: Wednesday vs. Longwood (8:00 p.m.), Saturday at Boston College (1:00 p.m., ACC Network, check local listings).
4. American (16-7, 6-2 Patriot League). RealTimeRPI rank:120th.
Did well to eek out a 62-61 win at Lehigh Sunday afternoon, but the real test will come Wednesday as they travel to Lewisburg, Penn. to face a Bucknell team that beat the Eagles 75-60 back on January 12.
Tournament Prognosis: Win (the conference tournament) and they're in.
This week: Wednesday at Bucknell (7:00 p.m.), Saturday vs. Colgate (3:00 p.m.)
5. George Washington (12-11, 5-4 Atlantic-10). RealTimeRPI rank: 182nd.
Did well to bounce back from a 25-point loss at Duquesne with a road win over Charlotte, but at this point, the Colonials are playing for the NIT Committee.
Tournament Prognosis: See American.
This week: Wednesday vs. Richmond (7:00 p.m.), Sunday at Massachusetts (4:00 p.m.)
6. Howard (4-18, 2-8 MEAC). RealTimeRPI rank: 328th.
Monday's win over Delaware St. meant the Bison were on a two-game winning streak, but that didn't last after Saturday's 79-70 loss to North Carolina Central.
Tournament Prognosis: See George Washington.
This week: Tonight vs. South Carolina St. (8:00 p.m.), Saturday at North Carolina A&T (4:00 p.m.)