Maryland College Basketball Power Rankings (end of 2017-18 season)
1. UMBC 25-11 (12-4), NCAA Tournament Round of 32 – UMBC is a name that college basketball fans will remember forever now thanks to the 2017-18 retrievers team pulling off the greatest upset in college basketball, basketball in general, and perhaps sports history. Going into this year no 16 seed in the men’s NCAA tournament had ever beaten a 1 seed. However, UMBC became the first team ever to do so. They needed a miraculous buzzer beater to beat Vermont in the America East Tournament to even get to the NCAA, but once there they beat their first ever ranked team in program history knocking off number 1 Virginia 74-54 behind great guard play of KJ Maura, Jairus Lyles, and Jourdan Grant. This win in my opinion propels the retrievers into first among the historical basketball prestige of the 5 Baltimore area college basketball programs (UMBC, Coppin State, Loyola, Towson, and Morgan State). UMBC was the only team from the state of Maryland to make any postseason tournament this season.
2. Maryland 19-13 (8-10) After starting the season 13-3 they finished 6-10. The terps only managed to win 2 Big Ten road games all season at Illinois and Northwestern. While Maryland did beat UMBC head to head in College Park back on December 29th 65-44 it is pretty clear who deserves to be ranked number 1 here. A large reason why Maryland faltered often later in the year was because the team was plagued by season ending injuries to key players. All of this being said myself, and many others going into Selection Sunday felt that an eighth place Big Ten team with 19 wins should have gone to the NIT, but instead they were snubbed and missed the postseason for the first time since 2014.
3. Navy 20-12 (11-7) Navy finished 3rd in the Patriot League behind Bucknell and Colgate, but had a disappointing end to the season losing to the 6 seed Holy Cross in the Patriot League Tournament in Annapolis in the Quarterfinals. The Midshipmen went 4-1 against teams from Maryland with wins over (Washington College, Loyola, Morgan, and Coppin). Navy could have gone to the postseason for the first time in 20 years, but likely declined trips to the CIT or CBI tournaments.
4. Mount Saint Mary’s 18-14 (12-6) The mount played well in Northeast Conference play racking up twice as many wins as losses, but the mountaineers bowed out of the NEC tournament in the quarterfinals to Robert Morris. They lose one of the best players to ever wear a mount uniform Junior Robinson to graduation, so next year could be a rebuilding year in Emmitsburg.
5. Towson 18-14 (8-10) Towson going into the season was a trendy dark horse pick to win the CAA, but things never seemed to materialize for the tigers. They lost 4 of their last 5 regular season games which dropped them to the 5 seed in the standings pairing them against a tough 4 seed in William and Mary in the conference tournament. Even when things were working for Towson it wasn’t easy 4 of their 8 conference wins were by 4 points or less or in overtime. The bright spot for the tigers was they were 9-4 this year at home inside SECU Arena, and they went 5-0 against teams from the state which was the best record of any program.
6. Morgan State 13-19 (7-9) Good news for the Bears they were really good at Hill Fieldhouse this year with a record of 8-2. The bad news is that MEAC teams almost always play substantially more away games than home games, and they were bad away from home going 3-13. Don’t be surprised to see the bears take a step backward next year as they lose their standout front court duo of Phillip Carr and Tiwian Kendley to graduation. These two have racked up more awards than there is space to list here, and it will be extremely difficult to try to replace them.
7. Loyola 9-22 (6-12) For the second time in 3 seasons it took the Greyhounds till Christmas break to pick up their second win. That is not a sustainable formula for success. Loyola graduates Andre Walker, and it was disappointing they weren’t able to produce better results, and put more talent around a player of that caliber during his four year stretch in Baltimore. The hounds haven’t had a winning season since Jimmy Patsos left, and it was time for a change. After this season GG Smith stepped down, and was replaced by Georgia Tech assistant Tavares Hardy.
8. Coppin State 5-27 (5-11) These two bottom teams were pretty much a toss up as to who is ranked 8th and 9th. Both had very bad seasons, but I decided to put Coppin above Eastern Shore because Coppin despite starting the season 0-17 went 5-11 in league play compared to the hawks 3-13 record. Also, Coppin went 2-4 compared against in state competition including a 71-68 win on January 29th in Baltimore in the two team’s only head to head matchup while UMES’s went 0-3 against fellow Old Line State teams. Coppin had a rough year, but some of that can be chalked up to it being the first year under a new head coach. If eagle fans are looking for a bright spot they swept South Carolina State.
9. Maryland Eastern Shore 7-25 (3-13) Things were rough for Maryland Eastern Shore’s basketball team there is no way around it. The hawks did not win a road game all season. They only had one neutral site win at the emerald coast classic in Florida over Jackson State. Head coach Bobby Collins is out, and the shore will play with an interim coach next season as the school has said they will hire a new full time head coach once a new university president starts their term in a year.
By: Ethan Hennessy