The Washington Times - January 4, 2009, 12:40PM

The format is pretty well established at this point, and it’s simple.

Compare Maryland’s resume to date with that of either a ranked team or a program that probably also feels it has a fair claim to a spot in the top 25. Then reach a verdict in terms of poll worthiness for this week.


Maryland coach Gary Williams is starting to chirp about national recognition, and it has been since the end of the 2006-07 season that the Terps were ranked. Last year was the first time since 1992-93 (aka the year before Joe Smith arrived) that Maryland didn’t crack the rankings once. It would seem Gary wants no part of two years in a row.

Anyway, for those who haven’t clicked on the last three entries, here’s Maryland’s resume through yesterday’s 85-75 defeat of Charlotte:

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

Now let’s introduce another unnamed team and see how the Terps stack up:

Record: 11-2
Iowa (N), Ohio State (A)
Losses: Kentucky (N), Davidson (N)
Bad losses: None
Neutral: 1-2
Road: 4-0
Average scoring margin: +19.8

The mystery team holds a strength of schedule edge, and its average scoring margin is especially impressive when the level of opposition is taken into account. Its best victories stack up comparably to Maryland’s (especially since the Terps beat Michigan State when the Spartans were without their starting center), though its losses are a little more harmful.

That said, four road victories already (granted, one was a conference game) bolsters this team quite a bit.

These teams are relatively close. But overall, it would be really, really hard to place Maryland ahead of the mystery team. So who is it?















If you said:

You’re a winner!

West Virginia lost to Davidson without leading scorer Alex Ruoff, who has played in all but two games. As a result, that setback isn’t quite as reflective of the Mountaineers as the rest of their resume. In turn, Williams DOES NOT have a good argument to place Maryland ahead of Bob Huggins‘ unranked team in the the coming week’s top 25.

—- Patrick Stevens