D.C. D1 NCAAM Update

We are nearing conference play in Division I men’s college hoops. The four DC schools — Howard, George Washington, American, and Georgetown — have a good number of games under their belts so far this season. Let’s take a look at how each as done so far in the 2019-20 campaign. 

Georgetown University, Big East

Georgetown has had some success in non-conference play, as the Hoyas are 6-3 and have wins over SMU (91-74 on the road) and Oklahoma St (81-74 on the road, too). Georgetown did have one home loss to UNC Greensboro, who is off to a great start themselves, so this should not be seen as a resume killer for Georgetown come postseason time. 

The Hoyas do have some issues off the court, however. These are issues that could plague them for the rest of the season if they aren’t addressed immediately. For starters, two of their players including James Ajinko, their second-leading scorer, and [F] Josh LeBlanc have decided to enter the transfer pool and cease playing at Georgetown for the remainder of the season. This hurts a Georgetown squad that had big aspirations coming into the season. Another problem is a scandal including an alleged burglary, assault, and harassment including some of their players (including Josh LeBlanc). Georgetown needs to sort out these issues, find solutions now, and move on with their tough schedule ahead. Otherwise, this could be another disappointing season for Hoyas fans. If the distractions are put aside, this Georgetown team led by top scorer Omar Yurtseven and coach Patrick Ewing could be a force to be reckoned with. 

Georgetown transfer student, James Akinjo dribbling down the courts at an away game vs. the Arizona Wildcats.

George Washington University, Atlantic 10

The George Washington Colonials of the competitive Atlantic 10 conference have had a rollercoaster ride so far this season. They’ve played ten games so far, and the Colonials stand at 5-5 — an incredible feat since they started the season 1-4. George Washington has found their stride as of late, even beating an undefeated Delaware squad that was 9-0. The Colonials and their fans know that the only chance the team has of making it to their 12th NCAA tournament is through winning their conference. With such an intense conference with teams such as Dayton and VCU, that task seems impossible. That will not stop George Washington from being a minor competitor in the A10, as they hope to play well enough to make some type of postseason tournament, whether it’s March Madness, the NIT, or otherwise. 

The Charles E. Smith Center, where GW basketball famously plays, has emerged as one of the toughest places in the country for visiting teams. 

American University, Patriot League

American basketball has not had too much to celebrate other than taking care of local rivals, as the Eagles have wins over both Howard and George Washington to start the season. American has a record of 3-5, which is largely due to their inefficiency in defense and rebounding and can doom any D1 basketball team. The Eagles have the privilege to play in a Patriot League conference that is still up for grabs, as no teams have impressed thus far. It will come down to conference play for American, and although their competition may be weak, their chances of winning the conference and making the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2014 are still slim. 

Star American University players exuding sportsmanship in their 2018 victory vs. Air Force Academy.

Howard, MEAC

The Howard Bison would most likely want to forget about their start to the 2019-20 season, as it has been nothing but dreadful. Howard, 1-9, just recorded their first win of the season against Hampton on the road. That’s one positive…right? Things have been ugly for the Bison this year, as their defense, offense, and rebounding have all been downright atrocious. Don’t forget though, this is non-conference play we are talking about. Howard has played seven of 10 games on the road, and they play in a very weak MEAC conference where the best record is .500 (Bethune Cookman 5-5). Alongside bad blowouts and a loss to a Division II school, Washington Adventist, the season has been a disaster for Howard, and they will look to just improve for next year. 

Action shot of Howard University’s talented third-year guard, RJ Cole.

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