Terps given 99 percent probability to make NCAA tournament

It's become a common line of questioning from Maryland men's basketball fans:

Are the Terps in the NCAA tournament, and what would need to happen for them to get squeezed out?


With each win, it becomes increasingly clear that Maryland is going to be in the 68-team field, and the probability at TeamRankings.com supports that.

The website runs thousands of computer simulations daily to predict how each team will finish the season.

Based on those projections, the Terps (up three spots to No. 16 in this week's AP poll) are most likely to win three of their final five games and finish the regular season 24-7. Taking that into consideration, the site has the probability at 99 percent that Maryland will make the NCAA tournament, and it has the Terps as a No. 5 seed in the field.

TeamRankings.com says there's a 4 percent chance of the Terps winning the Big Ten tournament and earning the league's automatic big. (Sounds low, but if you consider how the Terps have played away from Xfinity Center, you can't really argue.)

In terms of predicting how far Maryland will advance in the NCAA tournament, TeamRankings.com says there's a 25 percent chance the Terps get to the Sweet 16 and a two percent chance of them going to the Final Four. (So, book that early-April flight to Indianapolis at your own peril.)

We all know that March Madness is the ultimate in unpredictability, but at least these numbers give you something of a benchmark the next time someone asks how far you think the Terps are going to go in the tournament.

** As we've been doing each Monday, here's a look at where some of the best bracket prognosticators have Maryland landing in the field, based on the Terps' current resume:

CBS Sports' Jerry Palm has Maryland as a No. 3 seed in the South Region (Houston). He's got the Terps starting off in Pittsburgh against No. 14 High Point. With a win, they'd play either No. 6 Providence or No. 11 Tulsa in the Round of 32. No. 2 Kansas could await in the Sweet 16, and Duke tops that region.

Syracuse.com's Patrick Stevens also has Maryland as a No. 3 seed starting off in Pittsburgh, but he has the Terps in the East Region (Syracuse). That would set up a possible Round of 32 game against No. 6 Wichita State or the N.C. State-Texas A&M play-in winner. (So, there's a chance Mark Turgeon could be watching two of his former teams play for the right to face him.) In this bracket, the Terps could see No. 2 Villanova and No. 1 Virginia on the road to the Final Four.

ESPN's Joe Lunardi has seemingly been less impressed with Maryland's recent wins than his peers. He still projects the Terps to be a No. 5 seed. Lunardi has them in the East Region, starting off in Pittsburgh against the winner of a 12-seed play-in game between North Carolina State and Tulsa. In this hypothetical bracket, the Terps could then face either No. 4 Northern Iowa or No. 13 Bowling Green in the Round of 32. Top-seeded Virginia looms as a potential Sweet 16 opponent, with No. 2 Villanova and No. 3 Iowa State on the bottom half of that bracket.

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