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Maryland drops out of top 10 for first time this season

In a move that was expected and probably long overdue, the struggling Maryland men's basketball team dropped out of the Top 10 Monday for the first time this season.

The Terps, who came into the season at No. 3 and were up to No. 2 as recently as three weeks ago, fell four spots to No. 14 in the Associated Press media Top 25 and three spots to No. 12 in the USA Today Sports Top 25 after Saturday's loss at then-No. 20 Purdue.

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Maryland (23-6) has lost three of its last four games going into Thursday's Senior Night game against Illinois (13-16, 5-11) at Xfinity Center.

The Terps, who are in a four-way tie for second in the Big Ten at 11-5, finish the regular season Sunday at Indiana (23-6, 13-3) which is now ranked ahead of Maryland at No. 12 in AP and No. 11 in USA Today. Purdue (22-7, 10-6) moved up to No. 13 in AP and Iowa (20-8, 11-5) dropped from No. 8 to No. 15.

The Hawkeyes, who have lost three straight, host the Hoosiers Tuesday in what will be a key game in terms of both the Big Ten regular season title as well as the Big Ten tournament seedings in Indianapolis beginning next week. Michigan State (24-5, 11-5) is back up to No. 2 in the country behind Kansas in the AP poll.

Eight other Top 10 teams lost since the rankings came out last week, the most recent coming Sunday when No. 5 Xavier, fresh off its home win over No. 1 Villanova, lost on the road at unranked Seton Hall and No. 8 Iowa later lost at unranked Ohio State.

The Musketeers remained No. 5 in both polls.

Arizona, which had been ranked right ahead of the Terps, lost on the road at unranked Colorado and at No. 22 Utah and dropped to No. 18 in the AP poll and No. 16 in the USA Today poll.

More important than the rankings is how these recent defeats will impact Maryland's seeding for the NCAA tournament and Big Ten tournament.

CBS Sports dropped the Terps to a No. 4 seed in its bracket released Sunday afternoon, then moved Maryland back to a No. 3 a few hours later after Iowa's loss, which pushed the Hawkeyes down to a No. 5 seed, and Duke's loss at Pittsburgh, which dropped the Blue Devils to a No. 4 seed.

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The Terps are No. 21 overall in KenPom.com's latest RPI.

A lot will be determined this week in the Big Ten.

If Indiana beats Iowa in Iowa City, the Hoosiers will clinch the league's regular season title before they even host the Terps Sunday at Assembly Hall. If Indiana loses and Maryland beats Illinois, the Terps still have a chance of winning a share of the title.

Based on the league's tiebreaker rules, Maryland would likely have to lose to the Fighting Illini and the Hoosiers to lose a chance at a top four seed in the Big Ten tournament and the coveted double-bye (straight into the quarterfinals) that go along with it.

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