Somehow, The Terps Aren't Dead Yet

Joe Lunardi, ESPN's Tournament Oracle, currently lists the Terps as the sixth team to be left out of the Field of 68 in his latest Bracketology update (2/28).  At first glance, that seems ridiculous.  After all, the Terps boast an RPI of 83 and they haven't beaten an opponent in the Top 49 all year.  How is it possible that Lunardi thinks the Terps are still alive for a berth?

Well, consider the following:

- The field has expanded to 68 teams which means that this Terps team would be the 10th team out in a "normal" year.  That sounds plausible.
- The NBA draft is considered one of the weakest ever, so there are no dominant players or teams this year.
- The bubble teams are all pretty terrible.  Teams like Boston College and Clemson are hanging around.  Jay Bilas thinks it will be the worst Tournament field in decades

That's why folks like John Feinstein think that 4 more wins will get the Terps into the dance.  Here's my take on what needs to happen:

1.  The Terps need to win all of their remaining regular season games.  There is no doubt about this.  Beating Miami and UVA is not optional.
2.  The Terps need the 5 seed in the ACCT. For that to happen, Clemson must lose at Duke (no problem there) and VT must beat BC at home (huge hangover potential for VT). 
3.  With a 5 seed, the Terps will play Wake in the 5/12 play-in game and then they will have a rematch against VT in the 4/5 game which they must win.  I think it is essential that the Terps either beat BC or VT since both schools swept Maryland.  Personally, I think it'd be better to play BC since they are also on the bubble and that matchup would be an elimination game. Since there really is no scenario where the Terps can meet BC in the quarterfinal round of the ACCT; it's beat VT or bust.
4.  Root for BC to lose their first round ACCT game.  If they wind up with the 6th seed; it's possible a frisky Georgia Tech team could beat them.  If not, they must lose to FSU in 3/6 game.
5. If the Terps make it to the semis; their work is not done.  For me to feel safe; they'd need to beat either UNC or Duke and reach the finals. After last night's game; I'd almost rather see Duke.  Even if the Terps lose in the semis; they'll have a reason to watch the selection show.  It's hard to believe; but 4 wins might just do it.
Author: Jeremy | 2/28/2011 1:28:45 PM | Tags: bubble talk, acc tournament |