Maryland will return to the NCAA Tournament in 2019 after missing the big dance in 2018.
A much-improved Terrapins squad, led by Anthony Cowan Jr. and Bruno Fernando, navigated through the brushes of the Big Ten and emerged as a team to contend for the league title.
It also helps when your nonconference season was 9-2 with one of the losses to a future No. 1 seed, Virginia.
Still, the Terps are inconsistent. Erratic play makes Bracketology projections difficult. There is no clear cut place for the Terps. Losses to Illinois and Penn State hurt to say the least and definitely dropped the team a seed line.
Good news from Terps fans is that there is not much to go but up the rest of the way.
ESPN/ Joe Lunardi: No. 5 seed
CBS/ Jerry Palm: No. 5 seed
College BasketballTalk/ Dave Ommen: No. 5 seed
USA Today/ Shelby Mast: No. 5 seed
SB Nation/ Chris Dobbertean: No. 6 seed
Consensus is that Maryland is at the No. 5 seed line. Luckily for the Terps there really is nothing left on their schedule that could drastically drop them lower than the No. 6 that Dobbertean has them at.
Quadrant I victories:
Minnesota (A) - NET: 56
Wisconsin (H) - NET: 17
Ohio State (A) - NET: 43
Nebraska (A) - NET: 71
Purdue (H) - NET: 11
Iowa (A) - NET: 41
The Terps are 6-7 against Quadrant I teams this season, 15-2 against everyone else.
Seton Hall (H) - NET: 63
Illinois (N) - NET: 92
One thing that benefits Maryland is that they do not have many bad losses. Really, the only one is the neutral site loss to the Fighting Illini, which still is a Quadrant II loss.
Iowa State (20-9, 9-7 Big 12) - They have their fare share of big victories this season (vs. Kansas, @ Texas Tech, @ Kansas State), however they are consistent too. They also have a bad, neutral site loss against Arizona that drags them down. The Cyclones are also on the No. 5/ 6 seed line.
Florida State (23-6, 11-5 ACC) - Some questionable losses to Pittsburgh and Boston College really killed a solid top 4 seed for the Seminoles. Florida State is not much different than the Terps, they're 5-4 in Q1 games and 18-2 against everyone else. No losses are below Q2.
Kansas State (22-7, 12-4 Big 12) - An early loss to Tulsa had many looking past the Wildcats this year but they could end up being Big 12 champs. Sure, the win against Kansas isn't exactly the same this year, but they've been impressive in marque matchups.
Villanova (22-8, 13-4) - Consistently inconsistent are the Wildcats this year. Just when it looks like Villanova could move into the top tier of the sport, they lose to Georgetown. That sounds oddly familiar (i.e. Maryland and Illinois).
Teams the Terps are competing against for seeding:
Marquette (23-6, 12-4)
Wisconsin (20-9, 12-6)
Kansas State (22-7, 12-4)
Florida State (23-6, 11-5)
Nevada (26-3, 13-3)
Virginia Tech (22-6, 11-5)
Mississippi State (21-8, 9-7)
Cincinnati (25-4, 14-2)
Villanova (22-8, 13-4)
Seed Ceiling: No. 3 seed
There are clear tiers during the 2018-19 season and already it has shaped for Maryland to be in the second tier of the Big Ten (behind Michigan and Michigan State). Even with Maryland running the table, and winning the Big Ten Tournament, the highest Maryland could climb in the NCAA Tournament is a No. 3 seed. That would also take some luck and other teams to fall.
No matter what madness may happen in conference tournaments, there is no way Maryland could go higher. They just simply do not have the wins and results that North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas Tech or even Kansas put up this year.
Realistically, if the team can win a Big Ten quarterfinal, perhaps a semifinal contest, they will climb to a No. 4 seed. Other than that they are locked into a No. 5 seed.
Seed Floor: No. 7 seed
Falling to a No. 7 seed would be a crazy scenario. It would require the Terrapins to lose to Minnesota in the regular season finale and also lose to a bottom four team in the league tournament.
Cincinnati would also need to win the American, Louisville and Auburn make a run in the ACC and SEC tournaments and no other team on the No. 5-6 line fall to a bad team.
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