January 27, 2010

Terps Lead ACC

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It's a third of the way through the ACC basketball season, and don't look now, but the Terps are in sole possession of first place! With victories over FSU, BC, NC State, and Miami against only an OT loss on the road at Wake, Maryland is 4-1, leading Duke, Wake, and Virginia by half a game. Further, the last two home games have been decisive victories, in which the Terps took care of business against inferior opposition.

Of course, the other part of the story is that the Terps' victories in conference are over teams with a combined 9-16 conference record, and our first place status only has us in the tournament (according to Bracketology) as a automatic qualifier with a #13 seed. So we still have a lot of work left to do in order to accomplish any goals. The Terps' schedule only gets harder from here, starting with road games at Clemson and FSU and adding two games each with Duke and Virginia (though the Cavs' current standing is likely more fleeting than ours).

The biggest positive is that the Terps are finally winning the games they're expected to win, and not letting them be nail-biters or bad losses. Now the team can enter the harder part of the schedule with more confidence. A 10-6 ACC record only requires a 6-5 finish to the conference schedule, and that doesn't seem too ridiculous any more, but we'll keep our expectations reasonable for the moment. Progress toward being a legitimate threat starts with winning one or both of the upcoming road games.