What would happen if you asked an expert to rank Maryland, Georgetown and Virginia Commonwealth from first to worst in 2013?
That’s exactly what former Tennessee Volunteers coach Bruce Pearl did.
“I think Georgetown [is first] right now, because of their size, their commitment to defense, getting through the Big East Conference; I’d look at it as Georgetown,” Pearl told 106.7 The Fan’s Holden and Danny Wednesday. “I’d put VCU next because of their unique style, their ability to turn people over, and yet we’ve seen VCU has been somewhat vulnerable, particularly away from home in conference play. Then the team that I think is probably third would be Maryland, because they’re just young.”
Just to recap, that’s: 1) Georgetown 2)VCU 3) Maryland
His answer forces an interesting reflection on the rapidly evolving dynamic of local college basketball.
If you asked that same question three years ago, his answer may have sounded a little different; every response ending with VCU. In fact, three years ago VCU wouldn’t have been in the question.
Prior to the 2011 NCAA Tournament, the Rams had never advanced past the second round. In consecutive years, they made the Final Four and a tournament appearance thereafter, elevating themselves from the mid-major CAA to the major Atlantic-10 Conference. The A-10 also just added Butler, a team that competed in the national championship in 2010 and 2011.
The same year VCU was playing Cinderella, Maryland was saying goodbye to a legend at College Park. Over the course of 22 seasons, Gary Williams coached the Terrapins to eleven straight NCAA tournaments and a national championship in 2002.
Georgetown has remained steady under John Thompson III, advancing further in the tournament each of the last three years, all of which still pale in comparison to their 2006-07 campaign, the last year the Hoyas made it to the Final Four.
Of course, three years ago, Pearl himself was still employed by Tennessee, where he coached the Vols to six consecutive winning seasons, including their first Elite Eight appearance in 2010. They haven’t made the tournament since 2011.
Pearl went on to say the Terrapins (16-6 overall, 4-5 in the ACC) have been a disappointment and they still have some work to do if they want to be a part of March Madness in 2013.
“They live in a league that’s going to allow them to do some of that work,” Pearl said. “I just thought they’d make more of an impact.”
Listen to the full interview below.