It's an annual exercise, when news outlets release a "way-too-early" Top 25 for the following season not long after the current year's national championship goes final.
With the way Monday night's game between Villanova and North Carolina ended, maybe there was a little bit of a delay on these as everyone sat in awe of what they just witnessed. But each of the major sites has now released its version and there seems to be a common theme when it comes to Maryland -- assumptions, but inclusion.
Though sources say Diamond Stone has not made a final decision about his NBA future, signs seem to point to the former five-star recruit eventually entering the draft. That leaves two players with eligibility remaining who have draft decisions to make -- point guard Melo Trimble and foward Robert Carter, Jr.
Of the four largest outlets projecting the Top 25, three have Maryland in the mix and it seems to be predicated on the idea that Trimble and Carter will both return to school.
CBS has Maryland at No. 13, calling Trimble an "undeniable difference-maker." NBC has Maryland at No. 16, saying that the Terrapins will be in "full rebuilding mode" if Trimble and Carter leave. ESPN slots the Terrapins in at No. 14, saying if Trimble and Carter return then Maryland "feels like a top-25 team at the absolute worst." Yahoo does not list the Terrapins in their Top 20, but notes that they were under consideration.
It's true that much hinges on the decision of those two players. Incoming freshman Anthony Cowan is talented, but can he be expected to shoulder the same kind of load that Trimble did in his first season in College Park if Trimble goes pro? If Carter were to leave, who would Maryland look to for post scoring next season? Who could they add in the graduate transfer market or in the late signing period?
All of those questions have yet to be answered. But, under the assumptions above, national projections for next year's Terrapins seem fair.
Dion Wiley will return from injury and likely become the team's starting shooting guard. Damonte Dodd, Michal Cekovsky, and Ivan Bender become the core of the front-court rotation. Jared Nickens has an opportunity to take the next step. Cowan joins Kevin Huerter and Micah Thomas in the team's 2016 recruiting class.
Though there might not be the top-to-bottom NBA talent of the 2015-16 roster, somewhere around No. 15 nationally would seem to be in the cards to start the season -- if key pieces return.