The NCAA Tournament selection show is over three months away, but it’s never too early to start thinking about how a team’s resume will look in March.
The selection committee got the discussion started yesterday when it announced changes were coming to its team sheets. In case you’re not familiar with that term, a team sheet is something the committee creates for every program, breaking down almost every single aspect of a team’s schedule.
Every thing you wanted to know about Maryland is on here, from advanced rankings all the way down to conference RPI and opponent’s strength of schedule. It’s basically an easy way to look at a team’s resume and determines its place in the March Madness landscape.
The biggest part is the quadrants on the bottom of the page, which break down how good your wins are. That’s what changing this year. Instead of having four sections based on just an opponent’s RPI, this year the committee is adding in where you play them.
Here’s a quick breakdown. The row at the top has the four old RPI groupings, while the three below are what the committee will be considering in the new groups.
New Selection Committee Criteria
|Home 1-30||Home 31-75||Home 76-160||Home 161+|
|Neutral 1-50||Neutral 51-100||Neutral 101-200||Neutral 201+|
|Away 1-75||Away 76-135||Away 136-240||Away 241+|
The changes put more emphasis on road and neutral games, punishing teams less for losses that happen away from home. This is mostly good news for top mid-majors, who have struggled to make the NCAA Tournament the past few years after one slip-up in a conference tournament.
How does this affect Maryland? As a whole, it shouldn’t matter that much. By the time conference tournaments get into full swing, the committee is only focusing on who will be the last one or two teams in. Teams that have been close to the bubble all year are usually “in” by this time.
Even with Maryland’s soft non-conference schedule, I don’t anticipate them having to sweat out too hard on selection Sunday. The Terps may be punished in their seed by not scheduling hard enough in the non-conference, but the committee’s tweaking will put more emphasis on their challenging Big Ten road slate.
A year after avoiding almost all the top teams in the conference on the road, Maryland will face most of the conference’s top teams away from College Park, with six of its 10 Q1 games coming on the road in the Big Ten, according to KenPom (I’m sticking with KenPom because even though the committee will use RPI for this, the RPI ratings are incredibly inaccurate at the moment).
The change also recognizes how hard it is to win on the road. Assuming Maryland wins its remaining non-conference games, no conference road games would count as a bad loss (Q3 or Q4).
If you project Maryland’s record based on KenPom’s predictions, the Terps’ resume looks a little worse than last year, but is probably enough to keep them off the bubble. Maryland went 12-6 against Q1 and Q2 teams in 2017, and is projected to go 9-10 against those teams this year. But Maryland is currently projected to have no losses in Q3 or below after suffering two last year.
Of course, these are still projections. Odds are Maryland will lose some games it’s supposed to win, and vice versa. If the Terps are a strong road team like last year, that could be even more valuable this season.
Even with these changes, it’s doubtful Maryland will have to be nervous on Selection Sunday despite its questionable start.
In other news
Justin Jackson has fallen from most NBA draft boards, but Bruno Fernando is starting to take his place.
Twin defensive backs Elijah and Elisha Daniels are transferring from Maryland football. That makes it four defensive backs that have left the program since the start of the season.
Here’s The Diamondback with some takeaways from men’s basketball’s first two Big 10 games.
Mark Turgeon hopes Maryland’s core will stay together, writes Patrick Stevens for The Athletic.
ESPN’s Jay Bilas has the Terps at No. 35 in his most recent team rankings.