Things haven’t been going well for Boston College men’s basketball, except when they have. Things have been going well for Maryland men’s basketball, aside from when they haven’t. The two programs that will face each other are not in the same situation or even similar ones, but both are in a state of flux and are not so straightforward to read. It depends on one’s perspective.
On the part of the Eagles, observers see a team that is 9-8 but has arguably played better than its record. Still, losses are losses no matter how they came, yet this team won nine games all of last season. Their current record is an improvement on what it was a year ago, but it belies some of the strides they have made.
As for Maryland, the Terrapins are 14-4 and fully intend on making the NCAA Tournament in their penultimate season in the ACC, but their record perhaps tells a different story. Of those 14 victories, just one, NC State, carries significance. Aside from that, the Terps played one of the weakest non-conference schedules in the nation this year, and though they won those games — all but one, anyway — their win total sounds nicer than it actually is. One might believe that a 14-4 team is well on its way to a bid, but as it stands now, they will struggle to get in the big dance at all.
Oh sure, Maryland went just 17-15 last year, so it would seem that they are set for some improvement as well, but the net result might be the same as a bunch of those new victories carry less weight. Boston College would kill to have 14 wins right now, but for Maryland, those 14 are not enough for the Selection Committee or the Terp faithful.
Neither team is what it seems to be. The Eagles are no pushover for a 9-8 team (though they are developing a recent habit of losing close games and not being able to close them out), while Maryland is not nearly a juggernaut at 14-4. One thing that can be counted on is that BC will give Maryland a respectable effort, even if in defeat, tiresome as it may be to lose.
Should Boston College win, that might also be a matter of perspective. Maryland would be one of BC’s better wins, while BC might be one of Maryland’s worse losses when all is said and done. The Eagles are not playing for a tournament bid, but the Terps are, and from their point of view, BC is not a loss they want or need to take. If the Eagles are ready for their second ACC road win, it’s there for the taking in College Park. Maryland is fine, but not unbeatable, while BC is shaky, but more than pesky these days.
The opening tip is at 9pm on ESPNU.