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Gary Williams: 'We should be ranked'

As some of you may have noticed, Maryland remained outside of the top 25 polls this week. The Terrapins picked up 57 votes in the Associated Press poll and 31 in the coaches' poll.

Now, one could make a good argument -- especially after the week Maryland had last week -- that the Terrapins (19-7, 9-3) deserve entry into the national rankings, and it would seem likely that if they pick up another pair of wins this week they'll find a way in the next time the votes are counted.

Earlier today, Coach Gary Williams -- who votes in the coaches' poll -- was asked if he was surprised at his team's continued exclusion from the national rankings.

"No, I voted us 50th," Williams said jokingly. "That's why I knew we wouldn't be ranked."

Then Williams took a more serious tone.

"We should be ranked," he said. "I don't think that's too much of an argument. But opinions are formed. It's tough to break opinions in the way -- in other words, you'll see sliding, you know, there's like two groups. Like the top 12, they can have five or six losses sometimes and still stay in the top 12, and then in that last five there could be some changes in that with teams coming in and out, so hopefully we'll get in there if we win enough games."

Clemson -- Maryland's opponent Wednesday night at Comcast Center -- picked up one vote in the Associated Press poll and 11 votes in the coaches' poll this week. The Tigers (19-7, 7-5) have won three of their last four games, including a 62-53 victory against Maryland on Jan. 31.

When one reporter began to ask a question about the ACC as a whole, Williams interjected.

"Well the ACC has more than one team in the top 25," Williams said. "Because Carolina's not good, that shouldn't affect the way it's judged. I think the teams outside of Carolina this year, as a group, besides Duke, are better than they were last year."

The latter part of Williams's point might be true, but the ACC does not, in fact, have another team besides Duke ranked in the top 25 in either poll this week. The Blue Devils are ranked No. 5 in both polls. Virginia Tech, Maryland, Wake Forest and Clemson received votes in the AP poll. All those squads except Wake Forest received votes in the coaches' poll.

Does any of this talk about rankings and polls matter? Not really, because as Williams pointed out, the NCAA tournament selection committee is supposed to consider things like a squad's RPI and strength of schedule, not whether that team is ranked.

In case you were wondering, Maryland owns the No. 34 RPI and the No. 30 strength of schedule in the nation.

By Steve Yanda  |  February 23, 2010; 3:57 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Comments

First and foremost, since any time one makes the case for being ranked, someone always finds the need to say "rankings don't matter, duh"--so let me just say that yes, as we all know, these rankings do not matter one iota.

However, there is no doubt that when you consider all the facts, Maryland should be somewhere in the top 25. First and foremost, we WERE ranked earlier this season and in many pre-season polls. So, in a way, us not being ranked is the poll voters way of saying Maryland has not lived up to expectations this year.

Now, if anyone had asked ANY Terp fan (even Professor Petecard) prior to this season "if MD is in sole possession of 2nd place with a chance at winning the acc title win 2 weeks remaining in the season, would you take that?" Every Terp fan on the face of the earth would have taken that in a heartbeat.

We HAVE lived up to expectations and many would say we have exceeded them. We have zero "bad" losses. We can only play the teams on our schedule and so far we have done pretty damn well, going 9-2 in the last month+, all against quality conference opponents.

But it's not just that we have been winning, we have been beating the living p*ss out of several teams. Our average margin of victory in our 11 wins since Jan. 1 has been an astounding 17.1 pts.

We pass the smell test, yet because North Carolina isn't good this year, the ACC must be crappy. Even if it's a "down" year, it's still a top 3 conference (according to the conference rpi power rankings) and the ACC and Maryland will be vindicated come March.

Posted by: Barno1 | February 23, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm not going to say the rankings don't matter - I'm going one step further

ABOLISH NCAA BASKETBALL RANKINGS.

They are worthless. Not just because Maryland is unranked - the people who vote don't have time to truly know what's going on everywhere else - coaches have a more important job to do, and that's get their team ready.

ABOLISH NCAA BASKETBALL RANKINGS.

Posted by: BrokenClipboard | February 23, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Also, Yanda, I think you misundestood Gary when he said the ACC has more than 1 team in the top 25. He obviously knows we have 1 team in the polls...but I believe what he's saying is we have more than 1 team among the best 25 in the country.

Posted by: Barno1 | February 23, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Also:

http://espn.go.com/blog/collegebasketballnation/post?id=4600

Posted by: BrokenClipboard | February 23, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

The polls are more irrelevant today than they have ever been. It's nice to see your team ranked but all that really matters is getting into the Dance and then what you do when your dancing.

Oh yeah...ranked teams get better Sportscenter highlights too. Forget what I said about polls being irrelevant.

Posted by: lavar609 | February 23, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Go ahead - keep dissing us.
Keep em out of the top 25 all the way up to the ACC tourney. The motivation is good for them and God knows we can play the underdog role.

This is one of the most complete Teams MD had had in years.

Posted by: dcperspective | February 23, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

See, I think rankings do matter, not necessarily to the selection committee, but for the general perception of the program, which tends to be a pretty hot topic on this blog.

I think recruits look at who's ranked and who isn't and get an impression of the team's status. I think it meant a lot to teams like Cornell earlier this year and Northern Iowa to be ranked. On The 65 blog, they compare MD and Mich St and the conclusion is that MSU has had a magrinally better season than the Terps. MSU is ranked 14th in the country and I'm sure the perception in the general public is that they are far superior to MD.

Like most things in college basketball, winning eventually cures this. But I think Gary's larger point is "we're playing good ball here, why isn't anyone paying attention?" and I think it's a pretty fair criticism.

Posted by: PeteinAZ | February 23, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

The rankings don't matter at this moment. What does matter is beating Clemson tomorrow night and then VTech on the road Saturday.

It's a shame that people focus on the rankings so much. Our early non-conference losses to Wisconsin, Cincinnati, Villanova and William and Mary created a very steep slope back for us. Then we lost at Wake. So we have beaten FSU twice and GTech with a little good fortune at home. Probably more people focused on our blow-out loss at Duke. Those same people saw Duke get blown out at Georgetown. That's their "eye test."

Who cares? We need to win tomorrow and Saturday. Then if we beat Duke in a rematch we will probably get to a 5 seed.

It's not the economy, stupid, it's the NCAA Tournament.

Posted by: petecard | February 23, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

MD hasn't beaten any decent out of conference teams. By losing to Cincinnati, Wisconsin, Villanova and W&M we did our part to give the impression that the ACC is weak. I know the team is playing much better, Gregory is back and JW is playing much better now.

The strange dichotomy of this season whereby MD beats lesser ACC competition down and loses to good/decent teams (with the exception of FSU and GT) concerns me in advance of the NCAA tournament. That's when we'll find out just how much better the team is now than at the beginning of the season.

Posted by: acebojangles | February 23, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Beat Dook.

Posted by: steven09 | February 23, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

The last thing this team needs is it's head coach (and subsequently, the players) worrying about being ranked/unranked.

Also, and this is just me, but Barno I consider the loss to William & Mary (no matter what their record is now or that they also beat Wake) to be a "bad" loss.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | February 23, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Also considering their current record, both overall and in conference play, I don't think the loss to Cincinnati is necessarily a "good" loss.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | February 23, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

I heard Seth Davis on 980 today with Pollin and Czban and he said "Maryland has no bad losses." and that "W&M was not a bad loss." He also doesn't think they have any overwhelming wins but, if they go 2-2 in the last 4 they are in.

Posted by: Section505203 | February 23, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Even Wilbon said MD should be ranked on PTI tonight when discussing the topic of how the ACC is down this year...said don't be surprised if MD beats Duke next Saturday...love Wilbon!

Posted by: BD-EC | February 23, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Love the Terps!
Have remained a die-hard, true blue fan.

But we do have a bad loss

Cincy Bearcats are not tearing it up this year
William and Mary probably won't be in the Dance
And Duke just beat us by 20+

I still love the Terps, but please, more objectivity is needed.

Posted by: RedskinRay1 | February 23, 2010 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Waaaaa, waaaaa, waaaaa - "Gary the Whiner" strikes again...that is all he ever does. He has had his day, has a team with a "star" that no one likes, and loses to Duke by 20.... Get over it...

Posted by: SickofDick | February 24, 2010 7:24 AM | Report abuse

BD-EC

Besides Lebron James, there is no person in the sports (or sports related world) I hate more then Wilbon. If MD loses to Duke then Wilbon will go on PTI and say Duke was always the better team and he saw this coming all along. He's a flip flopper. He's contridicts himself regularly. He's just awful.

Posted by: fushezzi | February 24, 2010 7:46 AM | Report abuse

RedskinRay1 and others,

It's a shame you cannot make honest critical commentary without feeling that you have to walk on eggshells. We have Garo and company, the self-appointed thought police, to thank for that. Remember that Garo majored in Cheerleading with a minor in Mascot Impersonation.

Fushezzi, couldn't disagree with you more about Wilbon and hate is a pretty harsh word. I'll assume you just used it for effect. But look out, Garo and co. may try to label you a racist bigot.

Posted by: petecard | February 24, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Had we beaten cincy and W&M we would definitely be ranked. And I agree the W&M loss is a bad loss regardless of who else they beat. No way should we lose to a CAA team at home, ever. It would be different on a neutral court.

Good news is the rankings will take care of itself if we hold court at home. Winning at vtech is going to be very tough, though I think we beat Uvgay to close out the year. 3-1 to end the season and we get the 6 seed we need.

Posted by: jpfterps | February 24, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

"We Should Be Ranked".
Are you kidding me? Who has Maryland beaten this year along the lines of RPI? No one significant. They have 19 victories, however against key teams, (Villanova, Duke), they threw up on themselves.
The NCAA committee is going to look at who, as well as how many. The Terps still have work to do on the RPI level. Better find a way to beat DUKE, or win out reg season, then maybe the top 25.

Posted by: Hlynchmaster | February 24, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Poopy and Jfp,

I agree with both of you that losing to W&M at home was bad, real bad. There was a time that no one outside the ACC could come into College Park and get a win. Certainly no mid-major. Remember we had the longest out of conference home win streak in the country, at or around 90 games at one point.

But when I say it's not a "bad" loss, I'm talking RPI and how the loss affects our resume. Prisbell, Lunardi, Palm, and the rest of the guys who do this for a living have all said MD does not have a "bad loss", and what they mean is a loss that will hurt our tournament chances. In fact, losing to North Carolina this year at home would have hurt us worse than losing to W&M. Hard as that may be to believe. UNC's RPI is much worse than theirs.

Posted by: Barno1 | February 24, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Well, if we were more of a bubble team this year than yeah I'd say that bad loss to W&M would be looked at more closely by the tournament selection committee come selection Sunday. But we're not so much a bubble team so it's a moot point.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | February 24, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Tonight, MD gets it's 10th ACC win...which should officially put us in the tournament for the 14th time in 17 years, and 3rd time in 4 years. Yes, if we lost the remaining 4 games (including ACC tourney) we would probably have to sweat it out on selection sunday...but that's not going to happen.

Posted by: Barno1 | February 24, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

I did not receive my degree from your great school, Maryland. I am a NC kid who graduated from UNC. Obviously, we have had little to no success this year.

I enjoy reading about Coach Gary Williams. I admire his coaching abilities and think he does a good job every year. I am of the opinion that Maryland should be ranked in the top twenty. I know Duke defeated you earlier this year. However, they have to go to the Com Center, and I think the outcome will be different.

Maryland has a lot of "heart" at times and have the capability of playing with anyone.

You see, these polls disrespect good teams like Maryland. If NC were fortunate enough to have Maryland's record at this point, they would be ranked in the top ten...and the same for Dook if they possessed a similar record.

The polling, at times, seems to favor teams who are constantly in the hunt for national superiority. This results in good teams such as the Terps receiving a lot of disrespect.

Well, maybe I've said too much and will stop. I just feel this Maryland team has the ability to go deep into the tournament if they play up to their capabilities. Let's hope they get the chance.

Posted by: dumpondook | February 26, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

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