Here are the Jeopardy answers: Richard Nixon was President and Watergate was a year away from occurring. Johnny Unitas was throwing passes for the Baltimore Colts. The microwave oven had not been invented. The correct question is: When was the last time a Maryland baseball team played in the NCAA Tournament (NCAAT)? Hard as it is to believe, Maryland’s last NCAAT visit was in 1971.
The Terps were a bubble team a month ago, before going on a tear in the month of May to grab a spot in the NCAAT. The Selection Committee values recent record, along with RPI, SoS, road record, conference record, and wins against top 100 teams. Check, check, check, check, check, and check for the Terps. After their impressive ACCT performance it was not whether Maryland was going to make the NCAAT, but what seed and where?
We found out the answer around 12:42 PM today. The Terps are the #2 seed in the Columbia Regional. The other teams are #1 seed South Carolina, #3 seed Old Dominion, #4 seed Campbell. This particular round is double elimination play, with the winner going on to a Super Regional. Should the Terps win this round they will play the winner of the Virginia Regional. That would be a best of three series. The winners of the eight Super Regionals go to Omaha to play in the College World Series.
More on the tourney
More on the tourney
Before delving into Maryland’s chances, I’ll give some statistical perspective on the NCAAT selections this year. The top eight teams get national seeds. Of relevance to Maryland is that #2 is Florida (Terps played them in February), #3 is UVA, #4 is Indiana (our probable rival next season), and #5 is FSU. Maryland’s record against Florida, UVA, and FSU is a combined 4 – 4. That’s impressive to say the least. Other ACC teams making the NCAAT include Georgia Tech, Miami, Clemson, and North Carolina. The only other B1G team to make the NCAAT is Nebraska. Also in the NCAAT are Bryant, Liberty, and George Mason, all teams that Maryland played in 2014. In aggregate the Terps are 13 – 11 against teams in the 2014 NCAAT.
In my estimation Maryland is what’s considered a high #2 seed. That is, the #1 team is not a national seed and the #3 team is a “low 3” seed. The Terps’ strong showing is probably why they didn’t have to travel to Gainesville, which is UNC’s fate.
Below is a very high-level overview of the three opponents in Maryland’s bracket, with more a detailed analysis later in the week.
#1 seed South Carolina (42 – 16): They’re ranked anywhere between 11 and 15 in most national polls. The Gamecocks played in the SEC, probably the best conference in 2014. Their RPI is 14 with a SoS of 32. They were 12 – 11 against top 50 RPI schools. South Carolina was 3 – 0 against Clemson this season and 1 – 2 against Florida.
#3 seed Old Dominion (36 – 24): From Conference USA, unranked the whole season, with an RPI of 35 and a SoS of 28. Common opponents include VCU (1-1), Georgia Tech (0-1), Liberty (1-1), and UVA (1-1). Maryland went 6 – 2 against these teams.
#4 seed Campbell (40 – 19): From the Big South conference. Their RPI was 64 with a SoS of 173. They received an automatic bid by virtue of winning the Big South conference tournament. Common opponents include Delaware (1-1), Towson (1-0), Liberty (1-2), NC State (1-1), Virginia Tech (1-0), and UNC (0-1). Maryland went 9 – 5 against these teams.
Should the Terps win this Regional then they would face the winner of the Virginia regional, where the #1 seed is UVA. Given who's in the Terps' Regional, if they can beat USC once they'll probably be heading up to Charlottesville.