Feb 24, 2014; College Park, MD, USA; Maryland Terrapins guard Seth Allen (4) defends Syracuse Orange guard Tyler Ennis (11) at Comcast Center. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
Maryland’s latest loss against Clemson may have sent many fans packing in anticipation for the heralded 2014 recruiting class and inaugural season in the Big Ten. Fortunately for those fans, Maryland still has three and possibly even four, five, or six games left in the season! Sunday’s loss may have been a low point for this year’s Terrapins as they shot an abysmal 30.4 percent from the field, but clearly Maryland is attempting to bait everyone to believing they are done only to sneak up on the other 14 ACC teams in Greensboro. So to prepare everyone for this incredible run, here are some possible ACC tournament scenarios for Maryland and the rest of the conference.
The Top 4 – Double Byes
The top four is locked in with Virginia earning the the number one seed this weekend with their win against Syracuse. The other three spots will be a combination of Syracuse, North Carolina, and Duke. Virginia will get the winner of the #8 vs #9 match-up that takes place on Thursday. Duke’s win against Virginia earlier in the season is the biggest tiebreaker out of the bunch as long as Duke takes care of business against North Carolina to end the season. Syracuse needs to be careful with the game at Florida State as the Seminoles find themselves on the NCAA bubble and in desperate need of a big win in early March. A North Carolina sweep of the week and a Syracuse slip up could send the Orange down to the four seed .
Projections: 1. Virginia (16-2) 2. Duke (14-4) 3. Syracuse (14-4) 4. North Carolina (13-5)
The First Day Byes (5-9)
Pittsburgh, Clemson, Florida State, North Carolina State, Maryland, Miami
There are six teams fighting for five spots that would earn them a Wednesday bye. Pittsburgh and Clemson are safely locked into a first round bye. A Miami sweep this week would make things interesting especially if Florida State loses out, and North Carolina State and Maryland drop a game. Clemson and Pittsburgh finish the season off against each other in South Carolina and a win would give Clemson the fifth seed because of their win against Duke earlier in the season. Florida State beat Pitt earlier in the season, so if the Panthers lose out, they could drop as low as seven because of the tiebreaker with Florida State. After dropping their second home game in a row, Pittsburgh now looks to be in trouble of dropping in the standings. North Carolina State, on the other hand, picked up a big road win at Pittsburgh and now looks to be in position to avoid a final game against Maryland.
As for the Terrapins, things seem to be lining up for a Maryland and North Carolina State opening game in Greensboro. Maryland can put themselves in as favorable a position as you can ask for a team that has struggled with consistency this season if they beat Virginia on Sunday. North Carolina State holds the tiebreaker over Maryland, and after beating Pittsburgh on Monday night, they ensured themselves the ability to not get jumped by the Terrapins. The Seminoles and Terrapins split this season, but if Maryland wins out and Florida State drops a game, then Maryland would be up to jump Florida State, but not jump North Carolina State, which would keep Maryland in the eight vs nine game on Thursday at noon.
The worst case scenario for Maryland would be losing out and Miami winning out. The Hurricanes are currently at 6-10 with games at Clemson and Wake Forest remaining. If they win both of those games and finish at 8-10, and Maryland loses out to finish at 7-11, then Maryland would find themselves playing on Wednesday against Virginia Tech. Beating the Hokies on Tuesday night, would end this possibly since Maryland beat Miami in their only matchup this season.
Miami would still have a chance to earn a first round bye if North Carolina State lost out (at Pitt, vs BC) and Miami won out. A tie between North Carolina State and Miami would go to the Hurricanes as a result of their win against North Carolina and the Wolfpack not holding a win over the top teams.
Projection: 5. Clemson (11-7) 6. Florida State (10-8) 7. Pittsburgh (10-8) 8. North Carolina State (9-9) 9. Maryland (9-9)
Opening On Wednesday
Miami, Maryland, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Boston College, Virginia Tech
We covered Miami, Maryland, and North Carolina State above. Ultimately, I think Miami will be the odd man out of the first round bye group. Virginia Tech is locked into the 15 seed no matter what the outcome of their final two games, at Maryland and at Georgia Tech.
Notre Dame has one game left, on the road at North Carolina. They could only jump Miami if the Hurricanes lose out and Notre Dame beats North Carolina. Miami beat Notre Dame earlier in the season, which gives them the tiebreaker over the Irish.
Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, and Boston College find themselves in a tough spot trying to battle for positioning. These three teams are playing top teams in the conference and bubble teams this week, with the one exception being Georgia Tech’s season finale against Virginia Tech. Wake Forest plays Duke and at Miami, Georgia Tech plays at Syracuse and Virginia Tech, and Boston College plays Florida State and at North Carolina State. The top two teams out of this group would play each other , so in a sense these three teams are fighting for the ability to wear their home jerseys in Greensboro. With two wins Wake Forest could move ahead of Notre Dame and possibly Miami, but they would need those teams to lose out. Georgia Tech and Boston College are locked into this group of three regardless.
Projections: 10. Miami (7-11) 11. Notre Dame (6-12) 12. Wake Forest (5-13) 13. Georgia Tech (5-13) 14. Boston College (4-14) 15. Virginia Tech (2-16)
Using my projections, which knowing the ACC are probably well off from what will actually happen this week, the ACC Tournament would look like this:
12) Wake Forest vs 13) Georgia Tech – 1:00pm
10) Miami vs 15) Virginia Tech – 3:00pm
11) Notre Dame vs 14) Boston College – 7:00pm
8) Maryland vs 9) North Carolina State – 12:00pm
Wake/GT vs 5) Clemson – 2:00pm
Miami/VT vs 7) Florida State – 7:00pm
Notre Dame/Boston College vs 6) Pittsburgh – 9:00pm
Maryland/North Carolina State vs 1) Virginia – 12:00pm
Wake Forest/Georgia Tech/Clemson vs 4) North Carolina – 2:00pm
Miami/Virginia Tech/Florida State vs 2) Duke – 7:00pm
Notre Dame/Boston College/Pittsburgh vs 3) Syracuse – 9:00pm
As of right now, on Monday afternoon, it looks like Maryland would need to get through North Carolina State, Virginia, and probably North Carolina if they want to make the ACC Tournament final. Luckily for most Maryland fans, playing the eight/nine game falls right in the middle of their workday and thus prevents them from witnessing the final blow to many fans dream ACC finale season. But for us hopelessly optimistic fans, it would be ideal to knock off Debbie Yow’s bunch, the only geographic rival, and Turgeon’s mentor to set up a possible match up against Swofford’s favorite in Greensboro.