Costly losses to
“They are talented enough to be a tournament team,”
Maryland has yet to produce a signature win on the road, and their non-conference schedule was stocked with cupcakes like
"It is musical chairs. There are more people than there are seats," he said. "And when the music stops, the committee has to eliminate some teams. And when you lose bad games, particularly late in the year, you're giving them a reason to eliminate you. I'm telling you, when you're right on the cut line like they are, one of the first things they look at is your non-conference schedule. Teams get kicked to the curb because of that."
The Terps play three of their final four regular-season games on the road. After games at Georgia Tech and
"They certainly have an opportunity to improve their situation," Lunardi said. "But they're not going to improve it by being a .500 team in the so-so ACC, especially with that non-conference schedule. Let's be honest, that's what's really holding them back."
As of right now, Lunardi has ranked the Terps at No. 77, meaning they must leap-frog nine other teams to get an at-large bid. But Jerry Palm of CBS Sports isn't as high on the Terps, saying 20 teams are ahead of them.
“They have three top-100 RPI wins: Duke,
Palm said last week's loss at Boston College was a sign of a team that lacks maturity. The 83-81 win over Duke was "the best thing they've done all year." But following it up with that loss to Boston College, which ranks 134 in RPI, was "the worst thing they've done all year." He now thinks they have to "do a lot" to crack the field.
"I really think if they win all four [of their remaining games], they will give themselves a really good chance entering the conference tournament. If they don't, they're probably going to have to do something in the conference tournament," he said. "But in the case of a team like Maryland, which is off the bracket, you don't really control your own destiny short of winning the conference tournament. You might do something that looks like it is good enough to get you in, but then somebody does something better and you're still out."
But while the Terps really hurt themselves with the losses to Virginia and Boston College, both Palm and Lunardi believe the Maryland men don't necessarily have to win the ACC tournament to go dancing in March.