Jan. 19, 7:30 p.m.: The stakes will be high when Maryland takes the court tomorrow night to play Virginia. No player understands that more than senior Dave Neal, who has always had a solid grasp of the national college basketball landscape.
“It’s pretty much a must-win,” Neal said today.
When I asked Neal how many ACC wins will be needed to reach the NCAA tournament, he said 8-8 in the conference has been good in the past but the emergence of mid-majors has made it more difficult. He then said that a 9-7 record would be enough.
I agree with that and want to map out a potential path to the NCAAs for Maryland. Using Neal’s benchmark, the Terps will need eight more wins. While the following game-by game scenario is improbable, it is certainly possible:
Jan. 20 Virginia, W
Jan. 24 at Duke, L
Jan. 27 Boston College, W
Jan. 31 Miami, W
Feb. 3 at North Carolina, L
Feb. 8 at Georgia Tech, W
Feb. 14 Virginia Tech, W
Feb. 17 at Clemson, L
Feb 21 North Carolina, L
Feb. 25 Duke, W
March 1 at North Carolina State, W
March 3 Wake Forest, L
March 7 at Virginia, W
This would give Maryland a record of 20-10 (9-7) and possibly three wins (Michigan State, Michigan, Duke) over the RPI’s top 50. It would also give Maryland three road victories. The Terps may still need one win in the ACC tournament, but, in any event, I view this outline as the best-case scenario for Maryland.
The road to nine wins continues tomorrow night.
January 19, 2009; 7:28 PM ET
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