clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Testudo Times Bracketology: How Maryland basketball fits into the early NCAA Tournament picture

Projecting the whole field and where the Terps fall within it.

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Note: This article has been updated to reflect that Joe Lunardi’s has released a new bracket since this article was first posted.

The NFL season is finally over, which means the lead-up to March Madness has begun. With that, it’s time for everyone to obsess over terms like “bracketology” and “the bubble,” before inevitably losing to that person in your bracket pool who picked UMBC to beat Virginia because they had a beloved Chesapeake Bay Retriever growing up.

I’ve started to dabble in bracketology the last few years, and since Maryland has a solid shot at making the NCAA Tournament, thought I’d bring it to the site.

Come tournament time, picking the teams for the big dance actually isn’t that hard, as there are 36 at-large spots and most are obvious by Selection Sunday. The “bubble” is the teams fighting for those last few spots, and it’s smaller than people think. But picking teams’ regions and where they play the first weekend is tricky. The selection committee doesn’t always use a typical S curve, factoring in a team’s natural region and whether that affects the integrity of the bracket.

With that being said, Maryland has put itself in great position to get back to the NCAA Tournament. The Terps are No. 24 in the NCAA’s new NET ranking, 20th in KenPom and 27th in the BPI as of Sunday night. They’re 3-4 against Quadrant 1 opponents and 5-2 against Quadrant 2, giving them no bad losses in the eyes of the selection committee, even after losing three out of their last four.

CBS’s Jerry Palm and Sports Illustrated’s Michael Beller have the Terps as a No. 6 seed, while FOX Sports’s Howie Schwab has Maryland as a No. 7 seed. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi also has Maryland as a No. 6 seed in his latest bracket, which was released earlier today.

Despite the recent slide, I still have the Terps as the No. 24 overall seed and the final No. 6 seed in the field. As I see it, that would put Maryland in Hartford for the first round, playing the winner of the First Four game between No. 11 seeds Arizona State and Seton Hall. This would be an intriguing first round matchup, as the Pirates beat Maryland in College Park on Dec. 22 and the Sun Devils upset then No. 1 Kansas in Tempe earlier this season. The winner of that game would take on the winner of No. 3 seed Villanova and No. 14 seed Northern Kentucky, with the winner advancing to Anaheim for the Sweet 16.

Maryland is still pretty far from the bubble, being more in the middle of the pack of at-large teams. When I did the bracket with results through Super Bowl Sunday last year, 32 of the 36 at-large teams in my field at the time made the NCAA Tournament. Three of the four that didn’t make it were in my last four in, and no team that was lower than a No. 8 seed in my initial bracket missed out on the tournament.

The Terps only play at Nebraska this week, a game with a lot of upside. It’s a chance to pick up a Quadrant 1 win that would likely stay that way, since the Huskers came into the week ranked No. 33 in the NET, and Quadrant 1 road wins are against teams ranked No. 1 to 75 in the NET rankings. Nebraska has a lot more to play for, as it has lost five straight games and is slipping closer and closer to the wrong side of the bubble.

I posted my own bracket below, and feel free to ask why I put a certain team where in the comments. The regions are matched in Final Four pairing, so Duke would play Gonzaga and Virginia would play Tennessee if the bracket went all chalk.

All automatic qualifiers are as of Sunday, and a special thanks to The Athletic for introducing me to, which is a great site to find everything the committee uses to determine the field.

EAST (Washington, D.C.)

(1) Duke vs. (16) Prairie View A&M (SWAC)/Norfolk State (MEAC)
(8) Ohio State vs. (9) St. John’s

San Jose
(4) Louisville vs. (13) Hofstra (CAA)
(5) Baylor vs. (12) New Mexico St. (WAC)

(3) Wisconsin vs. (14) Georgia State (Sun Belt)
(6) Mississippi State vs. (11) Wofford (Southern)

(2) Kentucky vs. (15) Bowling Green (MAC)
(7) Auburn vs. (10) Texas

WEST (Anaheim)

Salt Lake City
(1) Gonzaga (WCC) vs. (16) Sam Houston State (Southland)
(8) Cincinnati vs. (9) Syracuse

San Jose
(4) Texas Tech vs. (13) Vermont (America East)
(5) Iowa vs. (12) Davidson (A-10)

(3) Villanova (Big East) vs. (14) Northern Kentucky (Horizon)
(6) MARYLAND vs. (11) Arizona State/Seton Hall

(2) Michigan State vs. (15) Loyola-Chicago (Missouri Valley)
(7) Kansas State (Big 12) vs. (10) Buffalo

SOUTH (Louisville)

(1) Virginia (ACC) vs. (16) Robert Morris (NEC)/Rider (MAAC)
(8) TCU vs. (9) Indiana

Salt Lake City
(4) Marquette vs. (13) Old Dominion (C-USA)
(5) Nevada (Mountain West) vs. (12) Belmont (Ohio Valley)

Des Moines
(3) Purdue vs. (14) Radford (Big South)
(6) Iowa State vs. (11) Minnesota/Butler

Des Moines
(2) Michigan (Big Ten) vs. (15) Princeton (Ivy)
(7) Oklahoma vs. (10) Alabama

MIDWEST (Kansas City)

(1) Tennessee (SEC) vs. (16) Lehigh (Patriot)
(8) NC State vs. (9) Washington

(4) Virginia Tech vs. (13) South Dakota St.
(5) Houston (AAC) vs. (12) Lipscomb (A-Sun)

(3) Kansas vs. (14) UC Irvine (Big West)
(6) LSU vs. Nebraska

(2) North Carolina vs. (15) Montana (Big Sky)
(7) Florida State vs. (10) Ole Miss

Last Four Byes: Alabama, Buffalo, Ole Miss, Nebraska

Last Four In: Arizona State, Minnesota, Seton Hall, Butler

First Four Out: Florida, UCF, VCU, Temple

Next Four Out: Creighton, Utah State, Arizona, Oregon State