The Washington Times - January 2, 2009, 03:45PM

The calendar has turned to 2009, and as such, there’s just a smidge more credibility for someone running around with a projected bracket in their hand.

Not that there’s all that much meaning to be gleaned from nonconference play and nonconference play alone. But at least it sounds better doing it in January rather than December.

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In any case, forward Dave Neal is Maryland’s resident bracketologist. The senior studies this stuff enough that it made for an interesting story last season.

Now, he isn’t retiring his interest in the subject just because he’s now a starter for the 10-2 Terrapins. But for rather sensible reasons, he isn’t quite ready to lend any insight on how things might stack up come March 15.

“I haven’t done it yet,” Neal said. “It’s a little early for that. I guess maybe when conference plays gets around, I’ll start looking at it more. I haven’t really looked into it, but once it gets closer to March, I’ll probably do a little more research and get ready.”

Sounds like a plan. And don’t worry, this isn’t the last you’ll hear about Dave Neal: Bracketologist this season. Not. A. Chance.

Patrick Stevens