Maryland basketball is officially back in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in five years.
The Terps drew the No. 6 seed in the East Region on Selection Sunday. They’ll play either Belmont or Temple—a pair of No. 11 seeds who play Tuesday in a play-in game—in the opening round on Thursday in Jacksonville. The winner of that matchup will face either No. 3-seed LSU or No. 14-seed Yale on Saturday.
(Update: Thursday’s game tips off at approximately 3:10 p.m. ET, or 30 minutes after the LSU-Yale game.)
Maryland enters the dance with a 22-10 record overall, and the Terps went 13-7 against a challenging Big Ten schedule. Their tournament resume is highlighted by six Quadrant 1 wins (in 14 attempts), and they’re also one of just 12 squads KenPom’s top 30 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. After going 19-13 last season, returning back to the NCAA Tournament is an important step in the right direction.
But the Terps are coming off an embarrassing showing at the Big Ten tournament, falling to No. 13-seed Nebraska in the second round. Maryland has now gone one-and-done in the conference tournament three straight years, and has lost its last five postseason games overall. A first-round loss would bring a promising season to a frustrating end, and fans’ angst regarding head coach Mark Turgeon would only heat up further.
Belmont went 26-5 this season, highlighted by a win at UCLA and a 14-2 record in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Bruins fell to Murray State in the OVC title game, but squeaked into the field of 68. Temple finished 23-9 and picked up an upset win over Houston in January, but is coming off a loss to Wichita State in the American Conference tournament.
If Maryland somehow advances out of the first weekend, it’ll play the regional finals in Washington, D.C. Duke is the No. 1 seed in the region, with Michigan State headlining the other side of the bracket.
Here’s the whole 68-team bracket. We’ll have more on the Testudo Times Bracket Challenge in the coming days.