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Posted at 8:29 AM ET, 02/ 2/2011

How Maryland can reach the NCAA tournament without beating Duke

By Eric Prisbell

If Maryland beats Duke tonight, Maryland's road to the NCAA tournament would become more manageable because the Terrapins would possess their first attention-grabbing victory of the season. That's obvious. What I am trying to figure out is Maryland's path to the NCAA tournament if it does not beat Duke tonight.

If the Terrapins lose to the Blue Devils, two things will be critically important: Beat the remaining two top 50 teams -- Boston College and North Carolina (both road games) -- on the schedule. (Florida State has hovered around the top 50 recently.) And avoid losses to sub-100 RPI teams: Wake Forest and Virginia. (Avoiding a loss to Longwood and its No. 317 RPI goes without saying.)

After that, clearly the more victories the better. If Maryland finishes 10-6 or 11-5 in league play, more power to the Terps. But I still think there is a scenario in which they could finish 9-7 (without beating Duke, the one very good team in the league) and have a reasonable chance at one of the final at-large berths. Here is my best shot at it:

Duke, L
Wake Forest, W
Longwood, W
At Boston College, W
At Virginia Tech, L
North Carolina State, W
Florida State, L
At North Carolina, W
At Miami, L
Virginia, W

Those results would give Maryland a 20-11 overall record and a 9-7 mark in the ACC. It would give the Terrapins a 3-7 record against top 50 RPI teams (assuming Penn State, Boston College and North Carolina don't collapse). And it would give the Terps a less-than-impressive 6-11 record against top 100 competition. They would be swept in the regular season by VT, but they would split the regular season series with BC. They would not get a bye in the ACC tournament and, therefore, need two wins. Give them those two ACC tournament wins - only one against a top 100 team - and then a loss against a quality opponent and they finish 22-12 overall, perhaps with a 7-12 mark against top 100 teams.

In order to make the NCAA tournament as an at-large candidate, the bar to reach every season varies and depends on your competition and the strength of other bubble teams. But you can use previous seasons as a rough guide. Take 2010 Florida, which finished with a 21-12 overall record, a 9-7 SEC record, a 3-9 mark against top 50 teams, a 7-11 record against top 100 teams. Those numbers are very similar to what Maryland's would be if they finish as I outline above. Well, Florida received a No. 10 seed in a 65-team field. So I think Maryland would very much be in the conversation and have a reasonable chance at one of the 37 at-large berths in an expanded 68-team field.

But maybe Maryland knocks off Duke tonight and the road becomes a little less treacherous. That's always possible in this rivalry.

By Eric Prisbell  | February 2, 2011; 8:29 AM ET
 
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Comments

Attention Washington Post readers:

Today, the Washington Post published a piece on last year's Md-Duke post game celebrations that has to go down as one of the most ridiculous pieces of reporting ever printed in this paper. Anyone who was actually there on Route 1 last year in College Park knows that there was no riot, there was no fires, there was no bottle throwing. What occurred were peaceful MD students celebrating the Terps win by filing out of Comcast Center, the dorms, frat/sorority houses etc, and out towards the bars on Route 1.

That's when the PG county police came in in full riot gear ready for a fight and made announcements like "Go home or go to jail" repeatedly. Then, the PG County police started attacking innocent bystanders at random with their batons. There is video footage of the incidents all over youtube (please see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAPwyodTkYA).

4 PG County police were suspended. An official investigation into the county police was launched, and the FBI joined in investigating the department's disgraceful handling of the events that night. Yet, all of this was covered up today by the Washington Post, in their lame and pathetic attempts to continue the sensational (and false) storyline that Maryland fans are the ones out of control.

The fact is: MD fans haven't "rioted" in nearly a decade, despite what the Post wants you to believe. Things have changed at MD, and it's sad the WaPost won't let go of their false storyline.

If you want to see what really happened in College Park last year on the night of the "rioting" by Md fans, please see this youtube video and read this article:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAPwyodTkYA

http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/04/13/maryland.police.beating/index.html?hpt=T1

Or take a look at the links and testimony from those who were there on this facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=367161936941

As you can see, the events of that night have been completely distorted by the Washington Post in today's one-sided hit piece. A video summary of the entire night, full of images of police attacking peaceful bystanders can be seen here:

http://www.wusa9.com/video/default.aspx?bctid=69931932001#/Chaotic+Celebration+in+College+Park+After+Victory+Over+Duke/69931932001

The Washington Post should be ashamed to have printed that piece of propaganda today.

Posted by: Barno1 | February 2, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Hey Gary I think your time would be better spent on last minute game planning than posting comments on a blog.

Posted by: rhbancroft | February 2, 2011 3:18 PM | Report abuse

From CBS News:

"Johnson says charges ranging from civil disturbance to destruction of property are pending against those arrested. Campus police say smaller groups there set fire to a tree and trash cans. "

27 people were arrested.

Sorry, but this isn't normal behavior after a basketball game.

Posted by: postfan1 | February 2, 2011 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Interesting Post, but the odds that Maryland would lose at Miami and home vs. FSU, but beat the Tarheels, are slim.

More likely they beat Miami and FSU (maybe Va. Tech as revenge), then lose @ UNC.

Posted by: dc_attorney | February 2, 2011 11:39 PM | Report abuse

I miss the good old days when 8-8 in conference would be good enough to get you in the tourney.

Posted by: dc_attorney | February 2, 2011 11:42 PM | Report abuse

From CBS News:

"Johnson says charges ranging from civil disturbance to destruction of property are pending against those arrested. Campus police say smaller groups there set fire to a tree and trash cans. "

27 people were arrested.

Sorry, but this isn't normal behavior after a basketball game.

Posted by: postfan1 | February 2, 2011 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, but almost all of those charges were dropped. After it became clear the PG County police lied on the police reports in several of the incidents (when video footage surfaced contradicting police accounts). The behavior after last year's duke game was absolutely "normal" by MD students. The behavior by PG County Police on the other hand was anything but.

Posted by: Barno1 | February 3, 2011 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Last nights loss showed one thing-Terps have no dependable outside shooters. They have not had one since Juan Dixon. Hopefully Faust (next year) can be that man. As much as I dislike Singler, that guy can shoot. Recruiting sucks. Gary can coach what he has, but he does not have much. Where is Lefty's recruiting (McMillian, Elmore, Moses, Lucas, Bias, King etc) when you need it.

Posted by: nfield | February 3, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

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