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The Road to the Tourney

Certainly, Maryland's in a big hole. But that doesn't mean it's impossible for them to find themselves playing int the NCAA tournament come March. It was held as common knowledge that they'd need at least an 8-8 record with a big win or two (Duke, UNC, Clemson, Wake) and at least one win (maybe two) in the ACC tournament. Believe it or not, that's not unattainable. Here's a look at the schedule:

1/20 - vs. Virginia

1/24 - @ Duke

1/27 - vs. Boston College

1/31 - vs. Miami

2/3 - @ UNC

2/8 - @ GT

2/14 - vs. Virginia Tech

2/17 - @ Clemson

2/21 - vs. North Carolina

2/25 - vs. Duke

3/1 - @ NC State

3/3 - vs. Wake Forest

3/7 - @ Virginia

Now, Maryland should win the home game against Virginia, to start, as well as the Boston College game. Even though they lost to Miami earlier in the year, it's clear that they can beat the Canes, especially at home. Virginia Tech at home is a winnable game, and Maryland already beat Georgia Tech, though that was at home. NC State is on a down year, so that game is also winnable. The Virginia game at UVA will be tough, but if that decides Maryland's tournament chances, I think they'll pull it out.

That's seven wins right there. That would put Maryland at 8 wins in total in ACC play, which is their goal; or, at least was. All of those games are no doubt winnable - Maryland doesn't need to do anything that would overly surprise anyone to actually get to 8-8.

Of course, that won't happen. It's not like any of the opponents are doormats, so they'll inevitably lose at least one of these games, more likely two. If that happens, wins will be needed against the powerhouses: Duke in CIS, UNC here, Clemson in SC, UNC here, Duke here, and Wake at Wake. There's six chances - three at home - to pull out two wins. Maybe the team will want revenge for the Senior Night Slaughter? Gary's teams always play well against Duke. UNC is winnable (last year's team proved it).

If they can get to the magic number of 8 or above, they live to fight another day. Unfortunately, if they only end up with 8 wins, they need to do some work in the ACC tournament, where Gary's teams have always had mixed performances. No one will forget the John Gilchrest year, but no one will forget the 1-and-done years, either. Depending on the opponent, Maryland may need two wins in the tourney, which would prove problematic - they'd almost surely face one of the Big 4.

So yes, it looks daunting, but it's not unattainable by any means. These past two games would've helped a lot, but they aren't back-breakers. If Maryland plays to their potential the final 13 games, they should find themselves in the NCAA tournament. If not, the CBI sounds like fun.