Dec. 23, 10:30 a.m.: There was little suspense last night in Maryland’s 67-51 victory over American, which means the Terrapins are right where they need to be headed into the holiday. Before the season, I figured, at this point in the season, Maryland would have a strong record with no quality victories, and that Coach Gary Williams would be crowing about not being ranked. Well, as it turns out, Maryland has a strong record (8-2) with two quality wins (Michigan and Michigan State) and a national ranking now becomes a legitimate possibility within a few weeks, if not sooner. What Maryland needs to do to remain on pace for an NCAA tournament berth is this: avoid a bad loss the rest of the way in non-conference play and win eight or nine games in a top-heavy ACC. I don't believe in looking at RPIs until early- to mid-January. Let’s take a quick look at the rest of the non-conference schedule:
Dec. 27: Bryant (1-9); best win: Quinnipiac
Dec. 30: Elon (4-4); best win: Lipscomb
Jan. 3: Charlotte (4-6); best win: Mississippi State
Jan. 7: Morgan State (4-6); best win: DePaul
None of those four teams has a winning record. Maryland has a great chance to enter conference play with a 12-2 overall record. At this point, anything else would be a profound disappointment. But so far, the Terrapins have exceeded most people’s expectations.
December 23, 2008; 10:36 AM ET
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