Maryland will be dancing if it finds consistency
by Patrick Stevens, Special for USA TODAY Sports
Days until Selection Sunday: 11
The first word:
There will be NCAA tournament games played in Los Angeles and Lexington, Dallas and Dayton, Auburn Hills and Austin in the next month.
There will not be any NCAA tournament games in Fayetteville, Ark., and that’s more than a small problem for utterly predictable Arkansas.
The Razorbacks (18-12) were run right out of Missouri in coach Mike Anderson’s return to Columbia, a 93-63 shredding that further illustrates Arkansas’ greatest problem: It cannot win outside of Arkansas.
Arkansas is 17-1 at home (including one game in North Little Rock), with victories over Florida, Missouri and Oklahoma. It is 1-11 when it heads across the state line for a game.
(This isn’t a new problem, either. The Razorbacks went 17-4 at home last year and 1-10 outside of Arkansas. The only team Anderson has defeated on the road in two seasons at Arkansas is Auburn).
In any case, Tuesday’s egg-laying should just about finish off the Hogs’ slim at-large hopes. They needed to beat a remotely decent team away from home, got nine chances to do it and squandered them all. The last remaining path for Arkansas to reach the NCAA tournament is to win the SEC tournament.
Alas, it will be played in Nashville — which, last anyone checked, is not in Arkansas.
Hot seat: Maryland
The predictably unpredictable Terrapins haven’t lost in a week, which in this particular season means they’ve managed to make up quite a bit of ground since a Feb. 27 setback at Georgia Tech despite only beating Wake Forest in that span.
So the Terps aren’t toast, at least not yet. And Mark Turgeon’s team might even temporarily find itself inside the projected field of 68 if it can knock off North Carolina on Wednesday.
For all of their flaws, the Terps (20-9) are 16-2 at home and have knocked off Duke and N.C. State in College Park. Completing the Triangle trifecta isn’t outside the realm of possibility. It’s also a vital part of any plan that involves Maryland receiving an at-large bid.
The Terps cannot solve their greatest weakness, which is a horrid nonconference schedule. What they can do is … [For more on Bubble Watch: Maryland will be dancing if it finds consistency, click here.]