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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 ...

By Steve Yanda  |  February 17, 2009; 7:38 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Next: The Gary Williams Interview


Neals right. 8-8 will do it this year, especially 8-8 with 5-3 in your last 8 including 3+ road wins and a win over a top 15 team.

What I find funny is that 79% of the people responding to this poll think the Terps are going to pull this off. Sure doesn't seem that way in the comments. Either half of the 79% don't know what will get a team into the NCAAs OR we have a silent underground of Terps blog readers that are Bullish on this years team but affraid to speak up and comment.

Viva la revolucion!

Posted by: Lee26 | February 17, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Wow... they better steal one tonight, that's all I can say.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 17, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Let's face it, they have to win tonight or they are almost certainly toast.

If they get blown out, they may not win more than one more game.

Only a dreamer would think that they can beat NC, Duke or Wake.

Why, in a year where the ACC is not considered deep and the Big East is considered by many to be the strongest conference in many years (top to bottom), does anyone think that 8-8 in the ACC will do it? The ACC tournament results must be factored in as well and that means that it really must be 9-9. I don't think 9-9 will be enough.

Blast me for it if you want, but let's see what happens.

And, we can all hope for a miracle.

Posted by: petecard | February 17, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

A gift from me especially for you. A late Valentines day gift in fact.

This is pretty much the be all end all for NCAA basketball predictions, rankings, etc. People in the know, know Ken Pom.

So in no particular order you are wrong on the following:
The ACC is a better conference than the Big East top to bottom (so is the Pac 10). The Big East will probably get 1 more bid than the ACC because it has 47 teams. The real question is why everyone thinks the Big Eleven will get 6 bids. They do not deserve them.

"If they get blown out, they may not win more than one more game." Just absurd, Clemson is very good and coming off a tough loss. This is a very tough game for MD and will not be a predictor of the remaining five games.

In fact the game the Terps are LEAST likely to win is the game tonight(The 13% odds are just about as long as they were vs Miami in January. I actually find this encouraging as that is a game MD should have won and as good as Oglesby is he is NOT Jack McClinton). They are more likely to beat Duke, UNC, and Wake at home than beat Clemson on the road.

So really they don't have to win at all tonight, but if they do, and I feel kind of good about the way the team has been playing, get ready to start dancing. The Terps win tonight and they are almost playing with house money the rest of the way.

Posted by: Lee26 | February 17, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Lee26, you are a naive child.

There is no way the ACC is better than the Big East this year. You cite one source. He must be the ONLY one.

Maryland may lose a relatively close game tonight. But, as I said, a blowout will likely be the beginning of the end for the season.

9-9 in the ACC won't cut it. But if you want to kid yourself, that's your choice.

Posted by: petecard | February 17, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the ACC is better than the Big Least according to Mr. Pomeroy. However, you are leaving out the numbers that matter.

For the last few weeks, Maryland's RPI has been in the 50's. 40-something at best.

That just won't cut it to the NCAAs anymore. Most of the teams that have done well in March have been consistently ranked in the top 35 of the RPI for most of the season.

Carolina, Puke, Clemson and Wake are in. FSU and BC are on the bubble, while VaTech is slipping off of it. We're in sole possession of a 500 conference record. All of the above are over it, which means that if we go 500 the rest of the season and they go 500, we're still in 8th place.

Maryland may be able to get a little bubble-happy, but a poor RPI generally indicates several deficiencies that other teams can exploit. I do hold out hope for more, but I prefer to be realistic. We HAVE to catch the leaderboard napping. We've done it to VaTech, but we're not sneaking up anyone anymore. If anything, State & UVa could easily be letdown games and everything will be shot to hell.

For me personally, this season is salvagable only with a blowout of the KryBabys. I don't care if we go to the tourney or not. Humiliate the KryBabys on National TV and nothing else matters anymore.

Posted by: mabkhar | February 17, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

You sir have no idea what you are talking about. The Big East will get eight or nine bids out of 16. The ACC will get seven or eight bids out of twelve. Do you know how to divide? 8.5 out of 16 is certainly less than 7.5 out of 12. I dare you to find a single site that would dispute the above. You are just plain wrong. Old and wrong. Enjoy that.

Posted by: Lee26 | February 18, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

and mabkar. That is where the RPI is now. The RPI will go up significantly with the game ahead of us. We are all under the assumption that MD gets to 8-8. If they don't they have to win the ACC tourney. To get to 8-8 they will need to win 3 games vs top ten RPI competition, 3 road games, or some combination of the two. Road wins count for 1.6 wins so even if MD only beats the two lesser teams on the road and wins one of the home games vs the good teams their RPI will end up right around 40, maybe higher. This is the way the math works. I am not saying they are a lock to get to 8-8, they certainly are not, but IF they get there they should be on the good side off the bubble. Especially with an ACC tourney win. To say otherwise is to not understand how the RPI works, what the selection commitee looks at, how the ACC is ranked across the board this year, etc.

Posted by: Lee26 | February 18, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

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