For the first time this season, Maryland men’s basketball is ranked the Associated Press Top 25 poll.
Receiving 170 points this week, the Terps are ranked 24th in the nation, one spot above Mississippi State and one spot behind Villanova.
The ranking comes off a week in which the 6-0 Terrapins kept their perfect record alive with a 104-67 trouncing of Marshall. Maryland hit the century mark for the first time this year, as junior guard Anthony Cowan scored 26 points and flirted with a triple-double, while freshman guard Eric Ayala scored a career-high 20 points.
The Terps had received votes in each poll this season, and after receiving the 28th-most points in last week’s poll, Mark Turgeon’s squad jumped into the rankings on Monday.
The new ranking comes at an important time for Maryland, as the team gets ready to face its first ranked opponent of the year. No. 4 Virginia comes to Xfinity Center on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. for a date with the Terps as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Maryland will then begin conference play on Saturday with a home game against Penn State.
The Terps are also ranked No. 17 in the first edition of the NCAA’s NET Rankings — a new rankings system meant to replace RPI, which was a flawed way to determine a team’s tournament standing. According to the NCAA website, NET Ranking “relies on game results, strength of schedule, game location, scoring margin, net offensive and defensive efficiency, and the quality of wins and losses.”
NET ranking is meant to determine, analytically, the value of a team. Maryland being 17th is the first ranking is good, but as evidenced by Ohio State being the No. 1 team in NET at the moment, this ranking may not tell the whole story.