College Park's Joe Lunardi
Dave Neal doesn't claim to be a bracketology expert, but he's the closest to it that Maryland's got, so yesterday he was asked what he thought it will take for the Terps to garner an NCAA tournament bid.
"I personally think it's gonna be .500," Neal said. "I'm not a Joe Lunardi or anybody, but I think .500 in the ACC this year is gonna get you in the tournament. They're going to have to take eight teams just because of how competitive the conference has been this year. If we stay .500, I don't see how .500 is not going to be able to get you in the tournament. If we stay .500, maybe -- and this might be pushing it -- 7-9 and winning one in the ACC tournament might get you in too."
Based on Neal's assessment, Maryland (5-5 in ACC play) would need three more wins to reach its magic number -- eight conference wins. The Terps remaining six games are:
- at Clemson, tonight
- vs. North Carolina, Sat.
- vs. Duke, Feb. 25
- at N.C. State, Feb. March 1
- vs.Wake Forest, March 3
- at Virginia, March 7
Being that N.C. State and Virginia are the two unranked opponents on that slate, they would appear to be the games Maryland has the best chances of winning. That leaves four contests out of which the Terps would need one win to get to eight in ACC play -- and according to Neal, have a good chance of making the NCAA tournament.
"We've got some good teams that are coming here – North Carolina and Duke and Wake Forest," Neal said. "If we can steal one, maybe two, of those games, I mean, it's going to be hard to keep us out of the tournament.
"The biggest thing at this point in the season is wins. You've got to win. If you lose, it's going to be tough, but if you keep on winning and playing hard, when it comes to the tournament (selection) time, they look at your last eight games. And if you've got a good record, they're going to be like, 'Well they're hot; they're good. We should let them in the tournament.' We've got the tough teams at home and the teams that we should beat are on the road. They can talk about last four teams in, last four teams out, and if we keep on winning we're eventually going to have to be one of the last four teams in."
Now that we've heard from Neal, I'd like to know what you all think ...
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