Unfortunately the Maryland Men's Basketball team has to make a run in the ACC Tournament this week to try and punch their ticket to March Madness. With the pain from blowing the 17 point lead @ UVA this weekend still fresh, the Terps need to shed that pain and focus on the task at hand. Is this wishful thinking, absolutely! Can the Terps make this run, probably not! But, as a fan base that longs for postseason play (NIT doesn't count) this is what all Terps fans have to hold onto in order to live the dream of playing in a meaningful March game.
The Terps draw is by far the hardest of any team try to fight for a bid. Their Thursday opponent, who the Terps have beaten twice rather easily, has the players to beat any team in the ACC, even Duke. Wake has beat Miami and NC State, along with taking Duke to the final seconds. Maryland seems to match up well against the Deacs, but beating a team 3 times in one season is an extremely hard feat to accomplish. If the Terps are able to prove themselves a 3rd time against Wake, the Evil Empire of College Basketball waits, DUKE! Yes, Maryland has a win against them this year, but Duke is still undefeated with Captain Ugly, Ryan Kelly. Maryland will have to play its best game to beat a Duke team with Kelly. Can't say I have high hopes for it, but hey why not. If the Terps are able to shock the college basketball world and beat Duke, it would most likely put us up against UNC. The Heels shot lights out against the Terps last week, but Maryland was able to stick around late into the game, but just gave themselves too much to come back from. UNC with its new lineup of 4 guards, needs to shoot well in order to be competitive, if UNC has an off night, well just reference this past weekends game against Duke. Maryland would have the superstition working in their favor with having lost to UNC twice and you know what they say about beating a team three times. If Maryland is able to triumph through Wake, Duke and UNC, I feel NC State is the most talented team behind Duke in the league and should be able to defeat an overrated Miami team. That leaves the Pack as the only team between Maryland and a guranteed bid in the Tourney. Maryland again matches up well with the Pack based on NC State having a balanced lineup of bigs in their lineup. Scott Wood is going to be the difference maker and if Pe can play D on Wood like he did Joe Harris, Maryland should be able to pull this one out. This would mean no more Bubble Watch and the Terps punch their ticket to the Madness!!!
With that all said and done, here's the reality. Maryland is coming into the ACC Tournament limping in. Maryland had some sour performances and some harsh let downs in the 2nd halfs of a couple games down the stretch. I reference the Baltimore Ravens and their title run to the Super Bowl. Very similar situations pertaining to long shot scenarios, lets not get into details, but if the Ravens can do it against far superior opponents why cant the Terps. I wouldnt be shocked by a first round loss to Wake on Thursday, but I also wouldnt be shocked if Maryland made it to the Championship game. Maryland has talent and depth which will be needed to play 4 games in 4 days. I believe Maryland needs at least 2 wins, with one being over Duke, but most likely a 3rd win this week should be enough to punch their ticket. I say lets make it easy for once and punch our own ticket and leave no doubt.
Kool-aid consumption begins now!