Grading DMV College Hoops: Maryland Men Miss the Mark, JMU Dukes it Out

With the college basketball season coming to a close and national champions being named, it’s time to look back on the regular season and see how each college basketball team performed. Who surprised fans with a breakout season and who fell short of their expectations? Let’s focus on some notable schools in the DMV area and give them a grade based on how well they played in the regular season.

Maryland Terrapins

Men – The Terps disappointed in a major way this year, despite star guard Jahmir Young being named first-team All-Big Ten. Many picked Coach Kevin Willard’s squad to finish 4th in the conference, but a 15-16 regular season record was only good for 12th. They were eliminated in the conference tournament with an ugly loss to Wisconsin and failed to make the Big Dance. This season marked a major step back for UMD men’s basketball, despite their success last year in Willard’s first year at the helm. 

Grade: F

Women – The women’s squad, on the other hand, fared far better than their male counterparts. Like the men’s team, Maryland was expected to finish 4th in the conference, but conference first-team junior Shyanne Sellers brought them significantly closer than the men’s team to that goal. The Terps finished 8th in the standings, not quite what they were expected to do, but that was good enough for a March Madness appearance where they earned a 10-seed. Legendary coach Brenda Frese sadly didn’t lead the team to a deep tournament run, as Maryland blew a first-half lead to Iowa State in the Round of 64.

Grade: B

Towson Tigers

Men – The men’s Tigers enjoyed a breakout season from CAA Rookie of the Year Tyler Tejada, pairing with forward Charles Thompson to lead the team to an 18-13 regular season record. Unfortunately, they fell five points short in the Coastal title game, narrowly missing their chance to punch their ticket. 

Grade: B-

Women – Despite being expected to win the conference, the women’s Tigers also finished with 18 regular season wins, only good enough for 6th. This underperformance spells trouble for the Tigers program in the future, potentially hurting their recruiting chances. They were led in scoring by Paint Branch HS alum Patricia Anumgba, who averaged 14.8 points per game.

Grade: C

Virginia Cavaliers

Men – The Wahoos were expected to perform well in the ACC, and delivered, with a 23-11 record. They played outstanding defense but struggled on the offensive side of the ball, ranking 7th and 211th, respectively. Virginia eked out a March Madness appearance but fell in the First Four to Colorado State. For coach Tony Bennett, who led the Cavs to a national championship in 2019, the early exit is surely a disappointment and something to be improved upon.

Grade: B

Women – The Cavs played to a middling 15-14 record, and exited in the first round of the ACC conference tourney. They replicated a similar near .500 performance from last season, showing little improvement between coach Amaka Agugua-Hamilton’s first two seasons. However, they were invited to the inaugural Women’s Basketball Invitational Tournament (WBIT), where they reached the second round. 

Grade: C-

James Madison Dukes

Men – JMU’s ascension to a veritable athletic powerhouse continued with a men’s basketball conference title, to pair with a division championship and bowl game appearance in football. The Dukes won the Sun Belt Conference in the regular season and the tournament, earning the #12 seed and a date with Wisconsin in the NCAA tournament. With only three losses in the regular season, JMU became a popular upset pick and delivered a signature victory over 5-seed Wisconsin. Unfortunately, their Cinderella run ended with a loss to Duke in the second round, but it was still a fantastic season for the up-and-coming program.

Grade: A+

Women – JMU’s women earned a WBIT invitation after finishing 3rd in the Sun Belt, but they were upset by Stony Brook. While it wasn’t quite the spectacular result they expected after winning their conference last season, it was nothing to scoff at for Kseniia Kozlova and Peyton McDaniel, who were both named second-team all-conference for their efforts. 

Grade: C+

UMBC Retrievers

Men – Six years removed from UMBC’s historic upset of Virginia, when they became the first 16-seed to upset a 1-seed, the men’s Retrievers of today are a far cry from that 2018 squad. UMBC stumbled to an 11-20 record in regular season play, and challenged UMass Lowell in their tourney matchup, but fell in OT to end their disappointing season.

Grade: D-

Women – UMBC’s women did not fare much better, ending up with a 10-18 record and exiting the America East conference tournament in the first round. They weren’t expected to make much noise, but it was still an overall disappointing season for the Retrievers basketball program. 

Grade: D-

Howard Bison

Men – HU played inconsistently in the regular season, finishing just below .500 at 15-16. However, the Bison got hot at the right time and made an unlikely run to earn the MEAC title, becoming repeat champions. Sadly, their run ended dramatically in their First Four matchup with Wagner; the Bison missed three straight game-tying shots in the final seconds. 

Grade: B

Women – Prince George’s County natives Iyanna Warren (Oxon Hill HS) and All-MEAC 2nd Team Kaniyah Harris (Charles H. Flowers HS) helped Howard to a 2nd place finish in the MEAC, with a 13-15 record. The Bison downed their first two opponents in the conference tourney but had their run halted in the title game against Norfolk St, which they lost by five points. 

Grade: C

Georgetown Hoyas

Men – This season was yet another down year for the legendary Georgetown program, now under the control of head coach Ed Cooley. Although technically a step up from their previous two seasons, a 9-22 record and a first-round exit in the Big East tournament left the Hoya faithful longing to return to their glory days. For a school that has produced Hall of Fame NBA talents such as Patrick Ewing and Allen Iverson, their current era marks a dark time in Georgetown’s storied history.

Grade: D-

Women – Although people had low expectations for the Hoyas to start the season, Marylander Alex Cowan (St. John’s College HS) along with Big East first-team guard and co-Defensive Player of the Year Kelsey Ransom helped Georgetown shock fans and analysts with a successful season. Finishing 19-10, the Hoyas went on a run in their conference tournament before being knocked off by UConn, a team now in the Final Four, in the title game. Their performance earned them a bid to the WBIT, where they fell to Tulsa.

Grade: B+