Wins over then-No. 1 Duke and then-No. 14 North Carolina State aren’t enough to guarantee the Maryland Terrapins a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Not by a long shot. They’ve held serve at home all season, but some bad road losses have hurt their chances–and getting swept by a mediocre-at-best Florida State squad isn’t helping their cause either.
They had such momentum going into the Boston College game following the win over Duke and what do they do in Chestnut Hill? They lay an egg, of course. One giant step forward, two bigger steps back.
The Terps have plenty of work left to do and the path is treacherous, but they do have a chance, but three of their final four regular season games are away from College Park. For them to keep any glimmer of hope alive, they need to win out and possibly a game or two in the ACC Tournament.
For the kind of stats Maryland puts up on a nightly basis, it surprises me that they’re only 7-7 in conference. They’re fourth in Division I in rebounds per game (41.6), top-30 in the country in assists per game and shoot an excellent 47.1 percent from the floor. They’re scoring a respectable 71.4 points per game while allowing only 62.7. Everyone fully expects a team like Maryland to dominate the out-of-conference part of their schedule and they did exactly that–12-1 outside the ACC–but at a hefty cost. Their OOC strength of schedule is a whopping 295th in Division I. In other words, it’s been a veritable cake-walk.
When you take a look at the top two teams in the league and their OOC strength of schedule, it’s no wonder they’re atop the standings–they’ve been tested prior to ACC play. Duke, currently two games back of Miami (FL) for first-place, has the toughest OOC SoS in all of college basketball while Miami has the third toughest. No wonder they’re head-and-shoulders above the rest of the league.
Maryland can still get in, but it won’t come easy. They just might be young enough not to realize it’s stacked against them–the Terps’ top four scorers are all underclassmen. If they do fall short this year, the future still looks bright in College Park for head coach Mark Turgeon.