The Washington Times - January 4, 2009, 04:12PM

All right, I’ll admit this game is getting a little old.

Not because it’s not fun to compare teams. But rather because it’s really kind of silly to be splitting hairs on Jan. 4.


All this stuff will get shuffled around anyway in the next few weeks. After all, teams in the Big East, Big Ten and Pac-10 have already started to cannibalize each other in the last few days. Pretty much every league will be well into it by this time next week.

But there are two more teams to compare to Maryland by the time the afternoon is through. First, a rerun of the resume pieced together by Gary Williams‘ team:

Record: 11-2
Michigan State (N), Michigan (H)
Losses: Gonzaga (N), Georgetown (N)
Bad losses: None
Neutral: 2-2
Road: 0-0
Average scoring margin: +12.8

And now Mystery Team VI’s work to date:

Record: 13-2
California (N), Florida (H), Western Kentucky (N)
Losses: Northwestern (A), Pittsburgh (H)
Bad losses: Odds are, Northwestern will be a bad loss
Neutral: 3-0
Road: 3-1
Average scoring margin: +6.5

So this team has a better RPI and strength of schedule than Maryland, and excellent work to date on neutral and road courts.

The Terps ultimately have a better pair of losses than the mystery team, and even though the defeat of Michigan State is nice, the overall set of accomplishments is probably about a push. Quality matters, but so too does quantity.

Overall that favors the mystery team, although that average scoring margin sure gives reason to pause.

So what wacky bunch has earned this sort of edge over the Terps?















If you said:

You’re absolutely correct.

Amazingly, Williams DOES NOT have a good argument to place Maryland ahead of Florida State – at least based on the resumes compiled to date.

But since a rankings do lend themselves to a bit of subjectivity, you will see the Terps a bit ahead of the Seminoles on my ballot, with that average margin of victory playing a role in the justification for that placement. It’s the same reasoning that will keep Maryland well behind, say, UCLA, regardless of what the resumes say at this stage.

But it was worth pointing out those idiosyncrasies work both ways,

Patrick Stevens