Maryland Basketball: Best and Worst Case Scenarios for the Terps in ACC
Assuming Maryland finishes up its non-conference slate with an easy win against 6-11 IUPUI, they will conclude their non-ACC schedule with a deceivingly pedestrian 12-1 record.
The Terrapins lost who they were supposed to lose to, and beat who they were supposed to beat. Their lone loss came against Kentucky in a neutral-site barnburner against the then-No. 3 Wildcats.
Maryland's most impressive, resume-building victories? Well, let's just say George Mason and Northwestern aren't going to exactly blow the socks off of the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee.
This means Mark Turgeon and his bunch have some work to do in 2013. With no marquee wins in conference play, Maryland could easily receive the same fate as Seth Greenberg's Virginia Tech team from a few years ago, who had a 25-9 record but failed to make the NCAA Tournament.
Let's take a look at the best and worst-case scenario for Maryland as it approaches ACC play.
Best Case Scenario - 14-4
First, we have two losses against the top team in the country, Duke. The Blue Devils are clearly the class of the Atlantic Coast Conference right now, and with Maryland's turnover woes and inexperience, its tough to see the Terps edging out Duke, even at home.
Then we have the games against the Hurricanes at Miami, and at home against NC State.
Maryland hasn't won in Coral Gables in quite some time, and now Miami has one of its best teams since Leonard Hamilton was the coach.
NC State is Maryland's only other opponent besides Duke currently inside the Top 25. While Maryland does see the Wolfpack in College Park, knocking off the likes of CJ Leslie and Lorenzo Brown is a difficult task.
I have one loss between those two games accounted for in a best-case scenario, which leaves one more loss for Maryland.
North Carolina may not be ranked now, but the Tar Heels recently knocked off Anthony Bennett's UNLV squad and are finally starting to gel as a unit.
Maryland will see UNC twice this winter, and in another best-case scenario, the Terps will split the season series with North Carolina and their unmatched depth.
That means Maryland would finish with a 26-5 record, with their top resume wins coming against North Carolina, NC State/Miami, Florida State, Virginia (twice), Virginia Tech (twice), Northwestern and George Mason.
Worst Case Scenario - 10-8
In a worst-case scenario, Maryland could end up with eight conference losses.
In addition to the four losses I mentioned earlier, a second loss against North Carolina and a loss against either NC State or Miami are certainly plausible.
Digging a little deeper, Florida State began this season ranked in the AP Poll. Maryland plays FSU in Tallahassee in late January, and the Seminoles unquestionably have upset qualities with proven leader Michael Snaer.
How many conference wins do you think the Terps finish with?
Lastly, Maryland plays Virginia Tech both at home and on the road. The Hokies have the nation's top scorer in Erick Green, and a nice backcourt counterpart in Jarrell Eddie.
When you factor in the idea of playing on the road and having to contain two high-volume scorers on the perimeter, a loss at Virginia Tech is definitely inside the realm of possibility.
In this case, Maryland would finish with a 21-9 record, with its top resume wins coming against Virginia (twice), Virginia Tech, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Northwestern and George Mason
Maryland's best case scenario would likely garner an NCAA Tournament seed within the range of No. 7 to No. 9. Their worst-case scenario would almost certainly result in a NIT berth.
With two superstars in Alex Len and Dez Wells, its likely Maryland's final record and resume leans closer to the former.
Nonetheless, an NIT berth would be an improvement from the past two seasons for Maryland, in which the Terps did not participate in postseason competition.
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