One win and they're in

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

March 03, 2009|By KEVIN VAN VALKENBURG

For all the turmoil that has swirled around the Terps this season, for all the criticism leveled at coach Gary Williams, it now comes down to simple math. The equation is so basic, even I can do it, and I failed math twice in college. Here it is: Win one more game, tonight's game, and you're in the NCAA tournament.

If Maryland finishes with a .500 record in the Atlantic Coast Conference - and a win against Wake Forest would accomplish that goal - there is simply no way the NCAA selection committee can keep the Terps out of the Big Dance, regardless of what happens in the ACC tournament. Maryland already has wins against North Carolina and Michigan State, which are third and fourth in the RPI standings, and it plays in what I'm convinced is the toughest conference in America. With a victory against the Demon Deacons, all the bickering and questions about recruiting and talk that the game has passed Williams by would disappear in a cloud of confetti.

Greivis Vasquez has suddenly found his game, and when his shots are falling, the Terps can beat anyone in the country. That matters, because when the selection committee mulls over what teams to take, one of the factors it considers is how well a team is playing right now.

There aren't a lot of strong mid-majors this year, teams deserving an at-large bid even if they slip up in conference tournaments, which means the committee is going to reward some of the schools in the middle of the pack in big conferences. That means the ACC should get eight schools into the tournament. With a win tonight, Maryland should be one of them.

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