Road Wins Matter. Terps RPI Jumps 25 Places

1/18/2010 9:28:35 PM The headline says it all.  Going into Saturday's game against BC, the Terps had an RPI of #77.  Today, it stands at #52. That's just one place behind defending National Champ, UNC (more on that in a minute).

Don't get me wrong. BC clearly is not a good a team, but Maryland won a road game.  Road wins separate the men from the boys in college basketball.  Of course we are still in January so dissecting RPI numbers at this point is pretty pointless; but after all the Terps have been through, they are right in the thick of it with plenty of opportunities to move up in the rankings.

How did we get here?

Let's look at the Terps 5 losses: Cincy #48, Wisc #9, Nova #4, W&M #30, Wake #25.  All of the Terps losses are against RPI Top 50 teams.  Granted that may change with W&M's SOS sure to drop as they get into the CAA Conference schedule; but the fact remains that the Terps are battle tested.

Haters like Doug Gottleib can trash the Terps all they want about not having enough quality wins, but the fact remains that every team that Terps have lost to thus far would merit an at-large bid if the season ended today.

The season is barely half over and the Terps will have plenty of opportunities for a signature win.  They may not even need one to secure a berth.  Personally, I think every road game left on the schedule is winnable (Clem and Duke will clearly be the toughest). Who among us doesn't think that we can eke out 2 road wins against the likes FSU, NCST, VaTech, and UVA?

I'll leave you with two final thoughts.

1.  UNC is so overrated in the national polls that it is comical. Do National Polls have an credibility at this point? UNC is still ranked (#23 and #24 respectively) and the Terps don't even have one vote in either poll.  MD has 5 losses all against Top 50 teams while UNC has 6 losses including one loss to #97 College of Charleston. Can someone tell me why they continue to maintain the Coaches and AP polls?  Let's scrap the ranking and go with the RPI.  Seesh.

2.  The Terps only need to improve their RPI by 10 or so places by the end of the season to guarantee themselves a spot in the Tournament.  Perhaps 9 wins in the ACC could do it after all. If Maryland is able to hold serve at home (2 losses max) and get two more road wins; I think they get in regardless of who they beat.

Disclaimer:  Maryland's RPI is sure to drop regardless of the outcome of the Longwood game.  Longwood is ranked #283 in the RPI and that will hurt the Terps strength of schedule.  It shouldn't matter.  The ACC is up for grabs. UVA is 3-0 after all!  Maryland has a real opportunity to take the drama out of Selection Sunday.
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