Maryland Terrapins Knock Off Clemson But Still Have Lots of Work Ahead

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Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

The Maryland Terrapins picked up a must win victory over the Clemson Tigers, but the team still has plenty of work to do if they wish to earn an NCAA Tournament bid.

Maryland’s 7-7 ACC record and lackluster non-conference schedule are hardly enough to take them off the bubble in order to participate in March Madness.

A pair of signature wins over the North Carolina State Wolfpack and Duke Blue Devils were quickly overshadowed by a devastating loss to the Boston College Eagles. Right as the Terrapins appeared on the verge of hopping off the bubble with the Blue Devils victory, the Boston College defeat put a halt to NCAA Tournament plans, leaving bigger doubts than ever in the team’s chances of earning a bid.

The Clemson win does little to heal the wounds left by the Eagles’ loss, as Maryland still has a lot of work left to accomplish in order to find themselves playing come the middle of March.

For their next two contests, the Terrapins will head out on the road in a pair of must wins over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Wake Forest Demon Deacons. A loss in either of those games could get the tournament selection crew all the ammunition they need to leave Maryland sitting at home.

Following those contests, Maryland at the very least will need to split their final two games at home to the North Carolina Tar Heels and on the road to the Virginia Cavaliers. The Terrapins have already lost to both teams in previous games this season, and if they can’t avenge either contest their tournament resume still might not be good enough.

If somehow, Maryland can build off the Clemson win to run the table and do the unthinkable by knocking off all four of their remaining opponents, then they’ll likely have done enough to earn their way into March Madness. Unfortunately, their inconsistency this year in conference action suggests that is about as realistic as the Terrapins hanging around in the ACC in future seasons.

Should they go 3-1 in their final four games, Maryland will likely still need a strong showing in the conference tournament to seal their bid, which is the more realistic route in earning their way to the national tournament.

The Clemson victory was a good start, but the Terrapins still have plenty to accomplish if they want to join the party come March 19th when first round action begins.

Michael covers ACC and Big East basketball along with the NBA and NHL for Rant Sports, you can follow him on Twitter @MichaelxRoberts