What the Virginia Tech loss means for Maryland
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.
| January 21, 2011; 7:53 AM ET
Save & Share: 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
Posted by: Matte | January 21, 2011 10:14 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: scrappledog | January 21, 2011 10:41 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Barno1 | January 21, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: sanjuan1227 | January 21, 2011 11:18 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: generalike | January 21, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: cm88 | January 21, 2011 12:18 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Redtopper2 | January 21, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: skinsfan11 | January 21, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: LaureninGlenBurnie | January 21, 2011 5:55 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: MerlinTerps | January 21, 2011 9:49 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: mi6-007 | January 22, 2011 12:10 PM | Report abuse