- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 23, 2008


Redskins 360: Ryan O’Halloran checks in from the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

D1SCOURSE: Patrick Stevens reports from sunny Miami, where Maryland faces the Hurricanes.


When No. 1 (Memphis) and No. 2 (Tennessee) play each other this late in the season, it’s must-see TV. 9 p.m., ESPN


Patrick Stevens spent part of his week in cyberspace talking Terps fans off the ledge after Maryland lost to Virginia Tech.

Take a swarm of both fans and sports media and give them a topic they think they understand and what do you get? Typically, what constitutes NCAA tournament bubble analysis for a lot of folks.

And boy, does it seem like there was a lot of it at Comcast Center and on Maryland fan message boards. But, Armageddon is not here. The apocalypse is not upon us.

No one can argue a 69-65 loss to Virginia Tech was helpful. But a knee-jerk bromide foretelling doom because of a single game is worse than inaccurate. It’s intellectually lazy, and it shows zero regard for what really needs to be assessed.

Why does the NCAA selection committee meet every March? To pick the 34 best at-large teams.

Logically, that means if someone were to spout off about a team’s particular merits and demerits, that team would have to be compared to every one else in a similar situation. But whenever that step is overlooked, the validity of any argument pretty much flies out the window.

Yes, Maryland lost this week. But so did a whole lot of their bubble brethren. Rhode Island. Baylor. Mississippi State. West Virginia. Houston.

If you’re a Maryland fan, there are definitely reasons to be concerned. The lingering issue of a hollow bench got even worse, and the Terps’ reserves were held without a point for the first time since March 7, 1997 (a span of 395 games). Those are all things that can be pointed to and used as support for an argument titled “These Guys Are In Trouble.” But a single loss to a top-100 RPI team, all by itself with four more games and a conference tournament remaining, is not the crux for such a discussion.

There’s still a lot of things that can happen before Selection Sunday, and few things are truly certain with nearly two fortnights to go before the 65-team field is unveiled.

Don’t let anyone else tell you differently.

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