Maryland is the nation’s No. 2 team. But when looking at various bracket projections, the Terrapins sit somewhere on the No. 2 or No. 3-seed lines. Why?
As part of a larger interview on CSN Wednesday night, Rob Dauster of NBCSports.com explained, including where he ultimately thinks they will be on Selection Sunday.
“I think they’re going to end up probably being on the two-seed line,” Dauster said. “It’s going to depend on how their season ends, what they do in the Big Ten tournament, and what happens with the rest of the teams in the country.
“But they just don’t have that mass of quality wins at the top of their profile. They have two Top 50 wins at this point. They don’t really have any terrible losses on their resume, but they don’t have any of those great wins and when you look at teams like Oregon has [nine] Top 50 wins at this point, Iowa has six Top 50 wins and they just don’t have those great wins and those great wins are what makes the difference between a No. 1 seed and a No. 2 seed.”
Sure, you can only beat the teams on your schedule, but Maryland is working from behind in terms of high-quality wins in the No. 1-seed conversation. Oregon is a good example with their nine Top 50 wins. Kansas, which has one more loss on the year than Maryland, has four times the number of Top 50 victories. Miami, which probably projects as a No. 3 seed, is 7-1 against Top 50 teams.
Even if Maryland had beaten two of the three teams they had lost to (say, Michigan and Michigan State), they would still only have four Top 50 victories. It is just a matter of scheduling.
But this isn’t the end of the road -- as if the regular season this year matters all too much anyway. Here’s what I mean:
First, they have a chance to solidify their profile down the stretch. Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana would be borderline Top 50 wins. Purdue would be a strong Top 25 victory -- though winning on the road in this conference is tough.
Then, you would need to see what happens in the Big Ten tournament. A 5-1 or 6-0 record down the stretch and perhaps a Big Ten tournament final appearance (or certainly a tournament title) could get the Terrapins in the No. 1 conversation.
But the other side of the coin is this -- all you need to do this year is get into the tournament.
There are legitimately 15 teams that could win a national title. Seeding won’t matter as much as who is within your region. Maryland will have a better chance to reach a Final Four as a No. 2 seed in a region that features a No. 1 they match up well against, as opposed to being a No. 1 seed in a less favorable region.
That will be the story of March.