I made it clear during the summer that I thought Head Coach Mark Turgeon and his Maryland Terrapins would make this season’s NCAA Tournament. Keep in mind, I was spouting off about this before Dez Wells was ruled eligible to play in College Park.
Once Wells was given his waiver after leaving Xavier, it was no longer a question of whether or not Maryland would make the tournament, it became a question of what their seed would be.
Wells, who left Xavier after being cleared of sexual assault allegations, was expected to be the best player on a talented, but young, 2012-13 Terps squad.
After starting their season with a 72-69 loss to Kentucky, who was ranked #3rd at the time, Maryland reeled off 13-straight wins.
Most–if not all–of those wins were against weaker opposition.
Needless to say, even though their record was gaudy, the Maryland RPI was not.
We needed to see how they would do once the ACC season began.
Maryland demolished Virginia Tech at home to start league play, however, in the following weeks, things have gotten a lot tougher for the Terps.
In their next contest, Maryland blew at 12-point lead in losing to Florida State at the Comcast Center. Since that game, we have seen a very inconsistent club that struggles to score and protect the basketball.
This past Sunday, at Comcast, the Terps were outplayed by the Virginia Cavaliers in losing, 80-69. With that latest defeat, Maryland is now 17-7 overall, and 5-6 in ACC play.
With only seven regular season games remaining, Maryland’s RPI, according to Kenpom.com, stands at 59. That’s just not good enough to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA’s.
There is no shortage of talent here. Center Alex Len is expected to be a lottery pick in the upcomg NBA Draft. Wells has pro skills himself. As we know, there are plenty of talented freshmen and sophomores on this team too.
But they haven’t shown enough.
So, unless the Terps can finish the ACC season with a flourish, or win the conference tournament, it will be their third-straight year of not being invited to the Big Dance.
Can this team rise to occasion and earn their “dancing shoes”? Or will this be yet be another campaign in which they are destined to be wallflowers.
We’ll find out this Saturday when Duke visits the Comcast Center.