2 Wins, 2 Losses, and a Dozen Cupcakes

1/4/2007 10:45:30 PM That's what the first two months of Maryland Basketball has been. (Alright maybe St. John's is not a cupcake, but a dozen cupcakes sounds better than 11). Tonight, I've been following the latest meaningless victory against winless Iona and I can't help but be frustrated.

I know the Terps play meaningless games every December. All the big schools do. But this season has been ridiculous. Usually, the Terps will play the cupcakes but there will be one or two "big" non-conference games peppered in between. This year, the ACC-Big East Challenge was on the road. So was the early ACC game. That meant no big home games until January. How is that possible?

We have five newcomers and they are playing in front of sparse crowds. The fan base should be energized by what seems to be a vastly improved team and exciting new players. Instead we get the 0-11 Iona Gaels in January!? Make no mistake, our schedule is pretty weak.

I am starting to think that 20 wins won't get us into the NCAAs. If the season ended today, the only Top 25 teams on our schedule are:

Mich St. (24)

Clemson (23)

Notre Dame (17)

Duke (5)

UNC (2)

We play Clemson and Duke twice, so that means seven total games against elite competition. Granted, the Top 25 will no doubt change and more of our opponents could enter (of course others could drop out). But, let's assume for the sake of argument, that the list remains static.

If the Terps lose all of these games and win all of their other games, that's a 23-8 record. Gaudy right? Wrong. Our RPI will not be good with only one win against Top 25 competition. Sure, we will make the Tourney at 23-8, but do we at 20-11? I am not so sure.

Given that we have so few Top 25 games, we need to make the most of them. Clemson at home is a must-win as is Duke. We need those wins to bolster the RPI and give us some cushion lest we slip against the lesser ACC competition. Can you believe we could be a bubble team with 20 regular season wins? What has happened to the ACC?

Only three teams in the conference are ranked and one of them is Clemson. Granted, the ACC whipped up on the Big Ten, but the the conference is a shadow of its former self.

ACC expansion has about as much buyer's remorse as George W. Bush's second term. Sheesh. Can we get a do over?

Maryland picked a bad season to play a soft schedule. Let's just hope we don't pay for it in March.

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