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It's time to make racket over brackets

February 19, 2003|by TIM KOELBLE

It's close to bracketology time in college basketball. Who'll be where and against whom.

More so than any year in recent memory, the current season looks to be a wide-open race to the finish.

Will Maryland be able to repeat as NCAA national champions this year?

Possible? Yes. Probable? No.

Forget the current ACC standings and Maryland's convincing win over Wake Forest Monday afternoon. Tonight's game at Duke in front of the Cameron Crazies is the biggest game of the year for the Terrapins.

In what has become one of the nation's hottest rivalries, this game is important for the Terps to show the nation their first win over the Blue Devils on Jan. 18 at Comcast was not a fluke.


Steve Blake needs to continue what he accomplished against Wake Forest, but more so, I think Tahj Holden is a big key in tonight's game. He's got to take charge in the block at both ends of the floor and maybe put Duke's Dahntay Jones on his fanny once or twice.

The NCAA selection committee takes the RPI ratings into consideration as much as anything else. Heading into tonight's game, Maryland is 32nd in the RPI ratings and Duke is 10th. The Terps need this win to solidify a decent seeding in the postseason tournament.

I think the Terrapins are on stable ground getting into March Madness, unless of course they lose out the rest of the year.

Right now, the top four RPI teams are Texas, Kentucky, Louisville and Notre Dame. Forget about the Irish getting a No. 1 seed (did I say that?). Unless the other three go into oblivion they'll be top seeds and my guess is Kentucky will get the South.

The NCAA needs its strong presence in the West, thus Arizona, ranked eighth in the RPI, will get the top seed.

Look for Maryland to be placed in the South Regional and open either in Birmingham or Nashville. In order for the Terps to get to the Final Four this year, I think they'll have to eventually beat the team I think is the best in the country right now - Kentucky.

Horn blowing

I've had a few days here and there where I've turned on the mid-afternoon television, viewing to see what's been on. Of course, ESPN is usually the first choice.

Tuned in recently to one of ESPN's recent programming editions, "Around The Horn," which features some so-called boxing expert, Max Kellerman, as host. He's supposed to be a sports expert with his array of buddies from various sports desks around the country.

Kellerman is in a different mold. He knows not much else other than the boxing he was originally brought on board for by ESPN. How he ever got this show, I'll never, nor will I care to know. He thinks he is bright enough to mute his guests when he disagrees with a statement. Huh?

Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon follow on ESPN with PTI (Pardon The Interruption). They're a dynamic pair that mold together with their insightful abilities. It's worth the watch.

But Kellerman? C'mon ESPN. Can't you do better than that?

Kellerman and ESPN are going around the bases with this half-hour waste that has been touching any base, much less home plate. Mute Kellerman!

Tim Koelble is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His column appears every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2310, or by e-mail at

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