Should Maryland, winner of 13 straight games, be ranked in the top 25?
Here’s the thing – coach Mark Turgeon says he really doesn’t care. At least not yet.
Top 25 rankings can help your program in terms of visibility, which in turn aids recruiting.
But – feel free to feign shock here – the rankings aren’t always terribly accurate or meaningful. That's particularly true early in the season.
Consider what would have happened if Maryland had defeated Kentucky in the season opener (the Terps lost by 3).
Since the Wildcats were rated third at the time, Maryland likely would have gained a top 25 foothold. The Terps would now be 14-0 and certainly ranked.
But – as we know now – Kentucky, with all those new starters, is a team not yet finding its way. The Wildcats clearly were overrated to start the season. They’ve since dropped out of the top 25.
What I'm saying is that teams can get ranked by defeating overvalued opponents. There is a ripple effect. The early-season rankings are sound and fury signifying nothing.
“I don’t care about the ranking stuff,” Turgeon said today. “We’ve got plenty of chances to prove ourselves over the next eight weeks.”
For the record, the Terps (13-1) are in the “also receiving votes” category of the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls. The strength of Maryland's nonconference schedule is not overwhelming anybody.
Coaches hate to look ahead more than one game. But it’s shaping up that Maryland’s first ACC test against a ranked foe will come Jan. 16 against N.C. State. The Wolfpack first play Georgia Tech and No. 1 Duke before facing the Terps at Comcast Center.
Coaches may have to take 'em "one game at a time" but writers and fans are under no such restrictions. So that's a game I'm already looking forward to.
Note: Turgeon said today that Nick Faust’s back spasms have “become more than I anticipated.” But the coach said he’ll be surprised if the sophomore isn’t ready for the Florida State game on Wednesday night. Faust played just five minutes against Virginia Tech on Saturday.