Yesterday was a long day for the University of Maryland men’s basketball team, but when Selection Sunday was all said and done, the Terps had snagged a surprising no. 6 seed for their March Madness matchup against Xavier University.
It didn’t take long for experts to point out that the seed placement is a steal. The Washington Post noted Ken Pomeroy, a highly touted statistician known for his college basketball ranking prowess, has ranked Maryland as just the 45th best team in the country on his website. In a fair world, that would put them closer to an 11 seed than a no. 6 seed.
A quick look down Pomeroy’s list shows no other team ranked that low received such a high seed. For purposes of comparison, Michigan State and Virginia Tech, both ranked just above the Terps, received no. 9 seeds from the selection committee.
CBS Sports editorialized on the high seeding for the 24-8 Terps, calling it “a stretch” to peg them the sixth-best team in the West region.
The fact that UMD quickly fell out of their Big Ten conference tournament on Friday, dropping a quarterfinal matchup to the Northwestern Wildcats, certainly didn’t help in terms of appearances.
Maryland-Xavier was the last of all the pairings called on Selection Sunday. It was a long day for the team, who waited patiently in head coach Mark Turgeon’s basement for their name to be called. Point guard Melo Trimble was reportedly pretty stressed about the notion that he might not be returning to the tournament in his third and likely final year.
But thanks to the selection committee, the Terps are set to play Xavier University (21-13) in the round of 32 on Thursday at 6:50 p.m. in Orlando. Xavier, like the Terps, dropped a number of games and a key player toward the end of the season, but has proven to be a resilient team.
ESPN’s College Basketball Power Index has found the matchup may be one of the first potential upsets of the tournament. The site gives Xavier a 58 percent chance of winning. Trimble and the Terps are hoping to beat those odds and make another run, potentially squeezing out a consecutive Sweet 16 appearance.
Mount St. Mary’s will also be representing the state of Maryland in the NCAA Tournament. The Mountaineers secured a spot by winning the Northeast Conference tournament last week.
They’ll face off against the University of New Orleans tomorrow at 6:40 p.m. The winner of that game gets a chance to try to upset returning champions Villanova University, a no. 1 seed in this year’s tourney.
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