Maryland trending upward in bracket projections heading into showdown with Wisconsin

Terps' freshman guard Melo Trimble talks about his role and productivity in the team's win over Nebraska. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)

With the regular season winding down, Tuesday night's home game against Wisconsin will be one of Maryland's last chances to add a signature win to its resume before tournament time.

At the very least, it would help the Terps in the "eye test" category if they can at least prove they're a worthy No. 2 banana to the Badgers in the Big Ten.


Heading into that showdown, Maryland has moved up to No. 14 in the AP Top 25. The Terps have also jumped a line to a No. 4 seed on Joe Lunardi's latest bracket, and two other reputable projections have them as a No. 3 seed, if today were Selection Sunday.

Here's our weekly look at the bracket projections:

** As mentioned above, ESPN's Joe Lunardi has boosted the Terps to the No. 4 seed in the East Region (Syracuse) after a week in which they held court against Nebraska and then got the weekend off. Lunardi has Maryland starting out in Pittsburgh against No. 13 Valparaiso. The Terps could see No. 5 VCU or the No. 12 play-in winner between Oregon and North Carolina State in a hypothetical Round of 32 game. Virginia looms as the No. 1 seed, and No. 2 Villanova and No. 3 Iowa State sit on the bottom half of the bracket. It's also worth noting that Lunardi projects eight Big Ten teams in the Big Dance, the most from any conference.

** CBS's Jerry Palm has Maryland in the South Region (Houston), but he has the Terps as a No. 3 seed. They would open against No. 14 Iona in Pittsburgh and then could face No. 6 Providence or No. 11 Colorado State in the Round of 32. No. 2 Kansas would be the likely Sweet 16 opponent, with No. 1 Duke looming at the top of the region.

** Patrick Stevens of Syracuse.com has the Terps as the No. 3 in the East, starting off in Pittsburgh against No. 14 Northeastern. That game feeds into a Round of 32 matchup against No. 6 SMU or an N.C. State-Texas A&M play-in game winner. Villanova is the No. 2 seed in that hypothetical region, and No. 1 Virginia looms as an intriguing opponent for a potential regional final.

** Finally, last week we dove into the tournament probabilities on TeamRankings.com (which led to some people on the radio talking about those numbers like they were breaking news). If you're curious, that website has now upgraded the Terps' chances of making the NCAA tournament to 100 percent.

What's most interesting is that their simulations for the rest of the season still only give Maryland a 4 percent chance of winning the Big Ten tournament and earning the league's automatic bid. That doesn't really mean much, considering the Terps' inclusion on the NCAA bracket is a mere formality. But Wisconsin (45 percent), Ohio State (23 percent), Michigan State (12 percent) and Iowa (5 percent) all have stronger odds to win the conference tourney, according to TeamRanking's simulations.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun