This team needs it

FACEOFF

faceoff: will the terps' easy nonconference schedule help or hurt them when acc play begins?

December 26, 2008|By Bill Ordine

Obviously, the Terps could have tougher nonconference opponents leading up to their Atlantic Coast Conference schedule, which begins Jan. 10 against Georgia Tech at home. But think about it: Would that leave them battle-tested or battle-weary?

Under different circumstances, I would say that it helps to deal with adversity early because it toughens your team, makes it stronger. Maryland is in the midst of six nonconference home games during which it plays teams that are not only several tiers below ACC-caliber, but also have losing records. But for this Maryland team, one that's still creating an identity, this soft schedule is a good thing.

The Terps have just one senior, forward Dave Neal. On-court leadership obviously falls on junior point guard Greivis Vasquez. There is no dominant big man, and Maryland will be the undersized side in many of its games.

This outfit's look and style are still being determined, and what it doesn't need is to go into the ACC schedule saddled with a bunch of losses that have it backed into a corner RPI-wise before meaningful games begin.

And remember, Maryland did play four consecutive tough games - Michigan State, Gonzaga, Georgetown, Michigan - a month ago when it went 2-2.

So with that experience behind the Terps, this breather run that allows them to refine their game, develop chemistry and get a running start to when the real shooting matches begin is actually a huge advantage.

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