Terps Fans . . . Mark Your Calendars!
Earlier today, the University of Maryland released its schedule for the 2009-10 season, which you can find here. While the Terps' ACC schedule is as rough as ever, it's pretty clear that this year's out-of-conference schedule reflects a distinct dialing back of the degree-of-difficulty compared with that of the last couple of seasons.
The BasketCases were not terribly surprised by this. Given the graduation this past spring of the remaining members of Maryland's 2006 National Championship team, and the new players coming on board this fall, Maryland is in somewhat of a re-building mode. Coach B and her assistants (2 of whom are new to the program as well) will be working to meld last year's promising newcomers, returning "vets," and incoming rookies into a cohesive whole. So before throwing this group to the ravenous lions of ACC play, the Terps will ease into the season facing some local schools, including Howard, Loyola, Towson and American, as well as several not-quite-household names, such as Longwood and
A few dates to note:
After a couple of exhibition games at home on November 4th and 10th against Bowie State and Catholic University, respectively, Maryland opens the regular season, also at home, on November 14th against North Carolina Central.
As for non-conference challenges, Wendy Larry's (always tough!) Old Dominion Monarchs will be arriving at Comcast on November 19th, the back end of the home and home begun last season. Then the Terps hit the road to face Mississippi State on November 22nd.
This year Maryland draws Minnesota as its opponent in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. This match-up has its own backstory. In 2002, after being named the National Coach of the Year, Coach B resigned as head coach of UMinn to accept her current head coaching job with the Terps. Let's just say that the Golden Gophers and their fans weren't exactly happy to lose her. Frankly, after seeing what she's done for the Maryland program, we can't blame them!
ACC play (the real season) begins on the road for Maryland with a game in Raleigh against NC State on January 7th, followed by a nationally televised game (ESPN2) at UVA on January 11th. The Terps' first home game against an ACC opponent takes place on January 14th, when Boston College comes to town. And be sure you don't book any other engagement on January 24th. That's when Duke makes its annual visit to Comast.
Be sure to check the schedule for all the other ACC match-ups. Of course, conference play concludes with the ACC Tournament slated for March 4-7, when the Terps will attempt to defend their ACC Title in Greensboro. Winning two titles in a row will be an uphill battle this season . . but who knows? Nobody, we mean nobody, picked the Terps to win a Natty in 2006. So we're looking forward to the games -- conference and non-conference -- and we'll just have to see how this new season plays out. Go Terps!