Written off by many a couple of weeks ago, Maryland kept fighting, like always, and picked up a pair of critical wins over N.C. State and Florida State. The Terps kept slugging away Sunday night, but they had no answer for the Tar Heels' size and length.
North Carolina had 19 offensive rebounds, Tyler Zeller poured in many of his 25 points in the paint and John Henson blocked seven shots in the Tar Heels' 87-76 win.
After falling behind by double digits in the first half, Maryland never stopped chasing North Carolina. But every time the Terps threatened to catch up, the 19th-ranked Tar Heels picked up the pace and stretched their lead back to more than a dozen points.
The overmatched Terps never really came close to a comeback. And since they were unable to pull off an attention-grabbing upset, it appears their late-season chase for an at-large bid is going to come up short, too.
Had Gary Williams' squad been able to take down a ranked opponent in Chapel Hill, the Terps would have climbed onto the NCAA tournament bubble. Instead, they aren't even close enough to be on the outside looking in. A bunch of tourney hopefuls are blocking their view of the dance.
To avoid a dreaded NIT invite, the Terps are going to have to win the ACC tournament. If they make it to the finals and lose, there is a chance they could sneak in, I guess, but it seems pretty slim.
Despite the long odds to make the NCAA tourney, the Terps aren't going in the tank. They didn't against the Tar Heels in the final 10 minutes of Sunday's game, though no one would have blamed them had they did. Jordan Williams had another beastly game and freshman guard Terrell Stoglin continued to impress by hitting a handful of tough runners while scoring a career-high 28 points (you have to love this kid's potential).
"It was a hard-fought game against a club that I really like, and I think that [Maryland coach] Gary [Williams] always does a good job -- we call him wacko for a reason -- but he really is a very good friend and a big-time coach," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said.
I think "wacko" was supposed to be a compliment.
With two games left in the regular season, Gary Williams' wacko Terps have run out of time to impress the selection committee. But they have plenty of fight left, so expect them to give it all they've got from here on out.
"It'd be nice to go in [to the ACC tournament] with a couple wins and see what happens," Williams said.