They need a one-and-one

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Will One More Win Ensure The Terps A Spot In The Ncaa Tournament?

March 03, 2009|By BILL ORDINE

Haven't we seen this movie before?

Early March. Maryland sitting on 18 wins with two regular-season games left.

That's the picture right now, and it happened to be the situation a year ago, when the Terps whiffed on their final two and then were bounced in the first round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, resulting in a snub by the Big Dance and an invitation to the bridesmaid's ball, the National Invitation Tournament.

So what will it take to convince the NCAA tournament selectors this time? The Terps (18-10, 7-7 ACC) need to make a late-season one-and-one.

They need to win one of their remaining regular-season games, against either No. 10 Wake Forest or Virginia, and another one in the conference tournament to scramble past or stay ahead of the handful of teams that can stand between them and March Madness. OK, two wins in the regular season would do it as well. But 20, as in victories, is the magic number.

There's an argument that if the Terps beat Wake Forest tonight, that third big-time triumph will give them the RPI boost to sew up a tournament berth. Yeah, well, maybe. But if Maryland does go all Jekyll-and-Hyde by beating Wake and losing to also-ran Virginia and then finishing with a loss to whomever in the ACC tourney, the Terps also make themselves easy to cross off the list - and that's what the NCAA selection committee looks for, reasons to eliminate teams.

But two wins? In that case, Maryland fans, you can start dreaming the dream.

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