March 14, 8:45 p.m.: Maryland failed to recapture the magic of its run in the 2004 ACC tournament, losing to Duke in the ACC tournament semifinals on Saturday, but the Terrapins are expected to receive an at-large invitation when the NCAA tournament bracket is unveiled Sunday.
The best news for Maryland on Saturday did not come from Atlanta but rather Oklahoma City, where Missouri beat Baylor in the Big 12 tournament final. Had Baylor – a team with little chance at an at-large bid – claimed the conference’s automatic berth, it would have taken a slot away from a bubble team.
When the selection committee assesses Maryland’s resume, it will see credentials that separate the Terrapins from other teams in contention for the last few at-large berths. Maryland has more wins against top 25 teams than all the top 25 victories South Carolina, Florida, Creighton and Saint Mary’s have combined.
Why will Maryland get in? Because of wins over Wake Forest, Michigan State and North Carolina. Those victories overshadow the poor road record or 7-9 regular season ACC mark. Those victories showed that Maryland is capable of playing against anyone in the country.
What type of seed can you expect? Maryland most likely will receive a 10, 11 or 12 seed. The Terrapins will most likely be among the last four team to receive an at-large berth. There are several interesting potential matchups, perhaps a game against a seventh-seeded Texas team, a fifth-seeded UCLA team or a sixth-seeded West Virginia. All would be fascinating.
Where could the Terrapins go? They will not go to Greensboro, N.C., for the first round because two ACC teams are expected to be placed there and Maryland cannot face an ACC team until a regional final. You can also most likely scratch out Dayton because the Terrapins – not for certain – but probably won’t rise to an eight or nine seed.
Philadelphia is a possibility, and a second-round matchup with third-seeded Villanova. So is Boise, where the Maryland football team found success a few months back.
In any event, because of the Wake Forest victory on Friday, the question now becomes where the Terrapins will go and not if they will go.
March 14, 2009; 8:44 PM ET
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