Having lost four of seven since upsetting N.C. State at home in mid-January, the Maryland Terrapins are sputtering and face a critical threat of missing the NCAA tournament in a down year for the ACC.
“Maryland’s biggest problem is just a general lack of quality wins,” Bracketology expert Jerry Palm told the Junkies. “They have two top 100 RPI wins: one is Stony Brook; the other’s N.C. State … they both came at home.”
Within the conference, Maryland has lost to Florida State twice, Miami, North Carolina, Duke and Virginia to help give them a 5-6 conference in the ACC, and a 17-7 record on the year.
“The reality is their schedule isn’t providing them with too many opportunities because the league isn’t that great this year, but the very next game is Duke at home,” Palm said. “Maryland’s almost at a point where they could maybe take one loss to a good team the rest of the way in the regular season, to have a good shot at getting in.”
Assuming that’s the case, by Palm’s route, Maryland would have to go on a six-of-seven run to finish their ACC schedule, with upcoming games against Duke, Boston College, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, North Carolina and Virginia.
Meanwhile, one ACC team that has been a rock in conference play is Miami, led by longtime friend to the Junks and local favorite, Jim Larranaga.
“When he took that job I thought, ‘Gosh. This seems like a golden parachute job.’ You know, where he’s going to go and make some money for three or four years, and maybe have some mixed amount of success and then off into retirement,” Palm said. “You can make the case that nobody’s playing better than Miami the last month.”
The Hurricanes are 19-3 overall and a perfect 10-0 in the ACC, a record that includes a victory over then-number-one-ranked Duke. According to Palm, the run that Larranaga has had his team on is more than impressive; it’s championship caliber.
“Miami has had a great year that’s pretty much under the radar and you have to consider them a threat to win the whole thing, because of their experience and because they’ve had a coach who’s been there,” Palm said.
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