Closings & delays

In initial 2018 Bracketology, Terps basketball on outside looking in (barely)

We're at that point in the college basketball calendar where half of the coverage is prefaced by a "way-too-early" caveat. A raft of premature top 25s have come out since the 2016-17 season ended Monday night, and Maryland isn't in many of them

But 36 teams receive at-large bids to the men's NCAA tournament. You don't need to be in the top 25 to go dancing, though it usually is a good sign. According to ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi, the Terps, in their far-from-complete form, are currently No. 37 in the at-large pecking order.

In his first Bracketology forecasting the 2018 tournament, Lunardi has Maryland as his first team out of the 68-team field, ahead of Oklahoma State, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech and behind San Diego State, Arkansas, St. Bonaventure and Providence.

Bracketologies are by nature educated guesswork, but especially so when rosters are still in flux. The transfer market hasn't closed for business. Some top high school recruits are still uncommitted. With junior guard Melo Trimble leaving early for the NBA draft and Micah Thomas transferring, the Terps' roster is due to change.

So, too, will the tournament projections. Maryland could get way better, led by its three freshman starters. Or the Terps could regress to their pre-Trimble mediocrity, when they never made a tournament under Turgeon.

Or maybe they'll indeed fall on that precarious bubble. After all, Lunardi had them pegged as a No. 6 seed playing in Orlando, Fla., in this year's tournament ... in June.

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