Maryland athletic director Andy Geiger is not a happy man.
In the 48-team NCAA women's basketball tournament, the higher seeded team hosts first- and second-round games before play advances to the regional level.
For weeks, Geiger lobbied the selection committee to get the Terrapins a high enough seed in the tournament to warrant a home game.
And when the pairings were announced yesterday, it appeared that Geiger's lobbying had paid off, as the Terps (17-12) got the sixth seed in the Mideast Regional and a first-round match against 11th seed Holy Cross (24-5) Wednesday night.
But because of a time conflict with the NCAA men's tournament, despite the higher seed, Maryland will have to play the Crusaders in Worcester, Mass., Wednesday, rather than at Cole Field House.
"I'm embarrassed that we have to take our team to play in Worcester," Geiger said yesterday. "I'm not very happy. I unloaded on them [the NCAA]."
The NCAA moved the game because Maryland will host first- and second-round games in the men's East Regional on Thursday and Saturday.
Practice sessions for the four men's games to be played Thursday at Cole Field House are scheduled from noon to 9 p.m. Wednesday. Geiger said NCAA officials were concerned that having the women's game at Cole Wednesday would delay preparation for the men's tournament the next day, so they awarded the home game to Holy Cross.
Geiger said the men's practice schedule could have been altered to allow the game to take place at Cole on Wednesday evening, or the women's game could have been scheduled for later that night, after the men's teams had practiced.
"We could have made accommodations to clear the floor at 7, and women's teams have played at 9:30 to get on television," said Geiger.
As a result, Geiger said he would have "even more reservations" about applying to host a men's regional in the future if athletes from Maryland couldn't use their own facility when they need it.
"I will think twice before we ever host another men's event," said Geiger. "Why on earth would I ever tie the building up and put my own students out? There's a principle involved here."
"There's nothing we can do about it," said Maryland coach Chris Weller. "He did his best to try to convince the NCAA that we could handle both. It was just too tight."