While their female counterparts bask in the glory of the women’s program’s 10th ACC tournament championship, the Maryland men’s basketball team prepares for what will likely be a quarterfinal exit from their own ACC tournament.
The Terps will play a winnable game against Wake Forest in the first round and will face top-seeded North Carolina in the quarterfinals should they advance. Seeing as Maryland (16-14, 6-10 ACC) has failed to pull off any major upsets in conference this season, it is hard to imagine they will defeat #4 UNC (27-4, 14-2 ACC) and make some sort of magical run through the ACC tournament. If they do win the whole thing, they would be almost as miraculous a story as the 2008 Georgia team that posted a regular season record of 13-16 overall and 4-12 in conference before shocking the world and winning the SEC tournament. Like those Bulldogs, these Terps would be absolutely stealing an NCAA tournament bid from a bubble team.
In a Diamondback article written shortly after Maryland’s Feb. 18 loss at Virginia, Chris Eckard quoted Mark Turgeon as saying that winning the ACC tournament was likely the team’s only hope of making the big dance. The Terps had just been embarrassed by the then #22 Cavs, 71-44, and were running out of opportunities to beat ranked teams. In their next game on Feb. 21 they earned a solid win over Miami, avenging a double overtime loss to the Canes on Feb.1. However, Maryland finished the regular season with three straight losses, including two that could have been quality wins against UNC and UVA.
Turgeon alluded to the ACC tournament before the season was even over. Now it is upon the Terps and they can be certain: it is win or go home.
Maryland played Wake Forest (13-17, 4-12 ACC) once during the regular season and won 70-64 on Jan. 11 in College Park. It was the Terps’ ACC home opener and their first ACC win of the year. Terrell Stoglin led Maryland with 20 points in the game, while Travis McKie led the Demon Deacons with 25.
Wake Forest tied for last in the conference this year with Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Boston College.
The Terps will face off with the Demon Deacons at noon on Thursday, March 8 in Atlanta.