Maryland Basketball: 4 Reasons the Terps Are Still Unranked
With a 12-1 record, Maryland is just one of 19 teams in Division I with either one or zero losses. Maryland is just one of five of those teams who isn't currently ranked in the AP Top 25 poll.The Terps are the only team—out of those five squads—that plays in a major conference.
So, what gives? Why is a team who plays in the ACC, on a 12-game win streak, not getting noticed by AP voters?
I asked myself the same question, and with some further investigation, the evidence matches up. While Maryland probably has Top 25 talent, it's current resume, which includes just one loss, does not warrant inclusion in the poll.
Here are four reasons I gathered as to why Maryland is not ranked in the AP poll.
Lack of National Television Exposure
Maryland has played two games this season that were televised on national television, which essentially consists of ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, CBS Sports Network, NBC Sports Network or CBS.
Two out of 13 isn't a very prominent percentage.
The Terps kicked off ESPN's college hoops season in a widely-viewed game on ESPN with a loss against Kentucky, who was ranked third in the nation at the time. This initial exposure allowed phenom center Alex Len to burst onto the national scene.
A few weeks later, Maryland participated in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge against Northwestern, which you probably didn't care to watch unless you were a fan of either team.
Let's face it—no AP voters are going to rank a team if they haven't seen it win. I'd say the majority of those voters haven't seen one of Maryland's 12 wins, which explains their absence in the poll.
Little Preseason Hype
Not only was Maryland absent in the AP preseason poll, but the preseason ACC media poll stuck them at a modest sixth.
The reason? Sophomore guard Dez Wells wasn't expected to play, as he transferred this offseason from Xavier.
Wells received a waiver to play a few days before Maryland's season opener, and while it may have not vaulted the Terps into the Top 25, it certainly would have boosted their place in the ACC media poll.
It's hard to garner much attention when you don't have any hype surrounding you. Had Maryland began its season in the Top 25, and continued toward its current 12-1 record, it most likely would find a spot in the rankings.
Voters don't create a new list of 25 teams every single week. They base their current list off of their list from the previous week. For this reasoning, it's easy to understand why a consistently-absent Maryland team remains outside of the polls.
Best Wins Are Not Impressive
I could sit here and try to convince you that having three wins against teams with an RPI better than 100 is impressive, but I'd get myself nowhere.
Whichever way you try to slice it, victories against Northwestern, George Mason and Stony Brook won't catch the attention of voters—especially when those wins are your best wins.
None of those teams have much of an NCAA Tournament at-large chance this season. Stony Brook is the favorite in their conference, the America East, but some voters may not even have a clue about the America East.
Once Maryland gains a marquee, signature victory against any part of the Carolina-triangle (Duke, UNC, NC State), voters will begin to pay attention. For now, it's understandable with Maryland's weak top wins.
Ranked 289th in Strength of Schedule
This one's simple. There are 347 teams in Division I basketball. Being ranked 289th out of 347 in strength of schedule, which puts a team in the bottom 15th percentile, alarms voters.
Not only has Maryland not defeated anyone notable, but it hasn't played anyone notable beside Kentucky, which is the one game it lost.
Only seven BCS conference teams—Clemson, DePaul, Virginia, TCU, Oregon State, South Carolina and Texas Tech—have strength of schedule rankings lower. None of those teams get any votes in the polls, nor should they.
ACC play will inevitably boost Maryland's ranking in strength of schedule, which might just go hand in hand with a boost into the AP Top 25. If Maryland continues to win, a record with just one loss will be impossible to ignore.