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Terps deserved better draw in NCAA tournament, but they didn't help themselves

There is some righteous outrage in the Mid-Atlantic region after Maryland's men's basketball team was stuck into the Midwest bracket of the NCAA tournament as a fourth seed. Nice of the selection committee to not only downgrade the Terps from what many thought would be a No. 3, but also place them in the upper half of the Midwest bracket along with undefeated Kentucky.

The Terps will play No. 13-seeded Valparaiso in Columbus, Ohio, on Friday, then would catch the winner of the Buffalo-West Virginia game if they advance to the Round of 32. If they get to the Sweet Sixteen, they'll almost certainly run into the Wildcats, who are considered just this side of unbeatable.

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So, was there a great injustice here?

Not really. I believe the Terps deserved to be a No. 3 seed, but they didn't help themselves by blowing a double-digit lead in the second half of their Big Ten tournament semifinal against Michigan State. They got sloppy with a big lead again and finally paid for it.

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Orioles manager Buck Showalter -- whom I like to insert into any story at any time on any subject -- has a two-word response for this kind of complaint: "Play better."

The difference between a No. 3 seed and a No. 4 seed is fairly subtle on one level, and if the Terps really deserve to be a No. 3, they should take care of business against Valparaiso and either Buffalo or West Virginia. The big difference is where they land on the bracket sheet, as a No. 3 in the Midwest would have put them in better position to make the Elite Eight and a No. 3 seed in the East Region (as currently configured) might have made them a Final Four contender.

Now, here comes another worn-out cliche: It is what it is.

Terps fans need to sit back and enjoy the ride for as long as it lasts.

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