Mark Turgeon has utilized a particularly optimistic tone about his Maryland basketball team this preseason. Now, college basketball's most-respected analytics outlet is backing him up.
Ken Pomeroy rates Maryland as the 33rd-best team in college basketball this preseason, in a just-released list. That puts the Terps seventh in the Big Ten, sandwiched directly between Iowa and Nebraska. Maryland ranked 40th last season, the highest-rated team not to make postseason play.
If the Terps play up to Pomeroy's analytical billing, they'll be in a good position break their four-year NCAA Tournament drought and return to playing meaningful basketball in March. See Pomeroy's top-40 ratings below:
Pomeroy believes Maryland will score 109.4 points per 100 possessions, adjusted for strength of opposing defenses and venue – basically, what they'd do against an average Division I defense in normal conditions. On defense, he thinks the Terps will hold opponents to about 96 points per 100 positions, again featuring adjustments to average.
Remember, though, teams don't usually get or defend 100 possessions in a 40-minute college basketball game. Depending on a team's pace, somewhere above or below about 70 possessions per game is more realistic. Pomeroy calls this "adjusted tempo" and expects the Terps to play at the 47th-fastest clip in the country this year, at 70.9 possessions per game.
If the Terps play as efficiently on offense as Pomeroy projects, they'll score about 76 points per game. That isn't meant to be an exact projection, but it would be far better than the 70.9 points per game they averaged last season.
Pomeroy expects Duke to comfortably have the best offense in the country, and Louisville the best defense.