Playing it tough, Terps to take on Stanford in Dec. 5 starters back, Cardinal in MCI Center tourney

September 29, 1998|By Paul McMullen

For the second straight season, the Maryland men's basketball team is expected to play the strongest schedule in the nation. Regionally, the marquee item on the nonconference slate is the fourth annual BB&T Classic, and tickets for the Dec. 6-7 tournament at Washington's MCI Center will go on sale Thursday.

Last year, Maryland beat then-No. 2 Kansas in the first round of the tournament -- then known as the Franklin National Basketball Classic -- only to fall to George Washington in the championship game.

This time, the Terps' opponent in the featured, nationally televised (ABC) semifinal will be Stanford, which has all five starters back from the team that took defending champion Kentucky into overtime at the Final Four. Most preseason polls list Duke, Connecticut, Kentucky and Stanford as early favorites for the Final Four, and Terps coach Gary Williams said it wouldn't be a mistake to list the Cardinal at No. 1.

"Duke has so many nationally known players, but Stanford may be just as deep," Williams said. "If you want to rank Stanford above Duke, you're not going to get any argument from Mike Krzyzewski."

Three days after Maryland opens its Atlantic Coast Conference season against Wake Forest, the Terps will face Stanford in a 1 p.m. semifinal Dec. 6. The second semi at 3: 30 p.m. matches De Paul, which has a premier recruit class, against George Washington. New Colonials coach Tom Penders said his up-tempo style will lean heavily on the backcourt of Shawnta Rogers and Mike King, both from Lake Clifton High.

Tickets for the BB&T Classic are $60, which covers Sunday's semifinals and Monday's consolation and championship games. Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster outlets. To order by phone, call 410-481-SEAT.

Pub Date: 9/29/98

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