Maryland basketball climbing in latest 2023 NCAA Tournament Projections

With two games left in the regular season, Maryland basketball has a chance to improve its postseason outlook with already a handful of appealing matchups.

Maryland enters Wednesday night as a projected seven-seed in the West region, according to ESPN. That’s not far off from Maryland’s projection on Bracketmatrix.com, which projects an average 6.64 seed for the Terps across all networks. ESPN projects a second-round matchup against West Virginia, which would mark the first meeting since the 2015 loss in the NCAA Tournament.

CBS Sports, meanwhile, projects Maryland as a seven-seed against Memphis in the East region. The two teams haven’t faced off since 2009 when, led by Derrick Rose and coached by John Calipari, the Tigers walked away with an 89-70 win. Elsewhere, local beat writer and longtime bracketologist Patrick Stevens has Maryland facing Nevada in the West with a potential rematch in the Round of 32 against Tennessee in North Carolina. Maryland fell to Tennessee at the Barclays Center at Madison Square Garden back in December, but the Vols have struggled over the last month with wins in four of their last nine games including a pair of buzzer-beater losses.

With Maryland flirting with the six-seed across NCAA Tournament projections, Maryland enters Wednesday night ranked 16th in KenPom and 20th in the updated NET rankings and a Quad 1 opportunity against the Buckeyes. Maryland will have a chance to climb to a possible five-seed contingent on the remainder of the regular season and the conference tournament, but the first step is becoming the ‘road warriors’ that Don Carey referenced last month. “It’s still just one game at a time,” head coach Kevin Willard said on Tuesday. While Maryland finished the home schedule undefeated in conference play and 16-1 overall, Maryland is just 4-8 away from Xfinity including a 2-7 mark on the road. Maryland had a chance to get back on the right track roughly ten days ago when they traveled to Nebraska, but after retaking and building an eight-point lead in the second half, the Huskers forced overtime before pulling out the narrow victory.

Now come the Buckeyes who look to keep their winning ways on Wednesday. Ohio State ended a nine-game slide when they upset Illinois 72-60 at home on Sunday afternoon, giving Maryland less competition at the top of the Big Ten standings. With an 11-7 conference record, Maryland is tied for second with Northwestern and Michigan with a path to a share of the Big Ten regular season title still viable. While Maryland holds the tiebreaker Purdue, the Boilermakers would need to lose against both Wisconsin and Illinois while Maryland defeats both Ohio State and Penn State. Still, Maryland shifts their attention to what is within their control as they prepare for a Buckeyes team embracing senior night.

“[Chris Holtmann is] playing his freshman, the freshman aren’t playing like freshman anymore but they really went small against Illinois and made it switch to everything. I think that’s the biggest difference where Zed [Key], even though Zed got hurt right before us, everything was down low, down low, down low. Now Bruce Thornton is playing terrific in the pick and roll. They’re just playing small, making them guard you, which is a little bit different than knowing where the ball is going. You really don’t know where the ball is going right now. So I think that’s the biggest difference.”

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