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Posted at 7:53 AM ET, 01/21/2011

What the Virginia Tech loss means for Maryland

By Eric Prisbell

From start to finish Thursday, Virginia Tech authored a dominating performance against Maryland to earn a conference road victory and remain on the right side of the NCAA tournament bubble. The Hokies (12-5, 3-2 ACC, RPI: 68) have won eight of nine games overall, and they have not lost a game by more than three points since Nov. 28.

Maryland's 74-57 loss -- its worst ever at Comcast Center -- was particularly damaging for the Terrapins, who fell to 1-3 in ACC play and 2-7 against the RPI's top 100. That's right, the road win against Penn State and the one-point victory over Charleston are the only victories Maryland has against top 100 competition. As watered down as most of the 68-team NCAA tournament field appears to be, Maryland is not close to being included at this point.

Coach Gary Williams has rallied his team late in the season in recent years, but this season presents a more daunting challenge because, as examined several times here, the opportunities for quality victories in the ACC are few and far between. Duke (RPI rank: 7), North Carolina (22), Miami (48) and Boston College (33) are the only ACC teams currently in the RPI's top 50. Maryland has four games left against those teams. So the Terps can't afford to lose to the likes of Virginia, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest -- the teams at the bottom of the league --- and they need to win most of their games against so-called quality teams. Their margin for error is extremely slim.

And now Maryland has less than 48 hours to shake off the Virginia Tech loss and take the same court again against a dangerous Clemson team at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. At the end of the three seasons when Maryland missed the NCAAs this century, the Terps always were at least in the bubble discussion on Selection Sunday, falling one or two victories short of claiming one of the final at-large berths. Even with the tournament expanded to 68 teams this season, the Terrapins (11-7, RPI: 95) are no lock to even be in the bubble conversation in early March. They need to start a winning streak Saturday.

By Eric Prisbell  | January 21, 2011; 7:53 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Today's No. 1 seeds: Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Kansas and San Diego State
Next: Bracketology: Eric Prisbell's NCAA tournament field of 68



Posted by: JamWhitt | January 21, 2011 9:56 AM | Report abuse

90% "no" votes. Ouch.

But honestly, I just don't see them pulling it out. I mean, the season is depending on Bowie and Tucker. From the beginning that's what it was. I was hoping they had some veteran leadership to bring, but in the end there's a reason they were bench players for 3 years. Mosely and Gregory were always role players. So again, the same situation.

Posted by: Matte | January 21, 2011 10:14 AM | Report abuse

I was optimistic just 24 hours ago, thinking Maryland had a shot at a top 3 or top 4 finish in a weak ACC but now I've lost confidence. That was one butt-ugly performance, and now the Terps have two inexcusable league losses at Comcast. Sad times.

Posted by: scrappledog | January 21, 2011 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Gary's teams always play best with their backs against the wall. Sucks being in this position but we can win 9 of our next 12 ACC games (plus obviously the longwood game) to put us at 10-6 in the conference. It's doable, but it's not going to be easy. It will take a lot of maturing from our players, but if anyone can get it out of them, Gary can.

It's tough to have faith after a horrible loss like that, but the season isn't over. We've seen miracle turnarounds before in College Park.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 21, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse

My gut brain and my gut are both telling me no. However I voted yes, due to the fact that Gary Williams always coaches his teams up and by the end of the season they are much better than at the beginning. Also, If Maryland can still end above .500 in ACC play by the end of the season, and beat Duke, the selection committee will notice that even though significant minutes go to three Freshman, we almost took down Pitt, Nova, Duke, Illinois.

Posted by: sanjuan1227 | January 21, 2011 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Not being at the game so I don't have first hand knowledge but was our fans the "worst ever" last night? Granted not much to cheer about but just asking.

Posted by: generalike | January 21, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Need new coach, end of story!

Posted by: cm88 | January 21, 2011 12:18 PM | Report abuse

With no wins of any top 25 team, I'm not sure anyone will call some of those good or "quality" losses. The two home ACC games losses, were absolute bad losses. The team took one step back yesterday, lets see how they respond against Clemson.

Posted by: Redtopper2 | January 21, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Need new coach, end of story!

Posted by: cm88 | January 21, 2011 12:18 PM

...And now the idiot convention begins.

Posted by: skinsfan11 | January 21, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I was hoping they had some veteran leadership to bring, but in the end there's a reason they were bench players for 3 years. Mosely and Gregory were always role players. So again, the same situation.

Posted by: Matte

I agree Matte... I was hoping for more like you but they are what they are.

Posted by: LaureninGlenBurnie | January 21, 2011 5:55 PM | Report abuse

I'm still bummed that we didn't get The Pirate.

This myth that MD is a basketball school is way overcooked.

Posted by: MerlinTerps | January 21, 2011 9:49 PM | Report abuse

For me, the blame for the losses falls squarely on the seniors ... who haven't played well, and are frankly bringing this program to it's knees.

Adrian Bowie, Dino Gregory, and Moses are BIG liabilities on the court. They don't score, and have been ineffective pressing on defense as well.

Not sure, why we never do recruit talent like Duke, or North Carolina, or some of the other top teams.

Gary Williams is an excellent coach with ONLY ONE good player, Jordan Williams. You take him away from the game, and you have found a sure fire way to embarass the Terps!

Time for James Padgett, Howard, and some other freshmen and Sophmores to see more playing time. However, this is not going to happen. Gary always like playing his Seniors ... NO MATTER how HORRIBLE they are.

I can assure you Bowie, Gregory and Moses would not find a starting spot on most ACC teams!

We need to score 3 pointers more frequently, to help free up Jordan in the paint. Also, our free throw % is just woeful. Ganes are won and loss by good/poor free throw shooting!

Posted by: mi6-007 | January 22, 2011 12:10 PM | Report abuse

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