Young Terps Face Challenging Schedule

Brett GellmanCorrespondent INovember 17, 2008

Head coach Gary Williams has his hands full with perhaps one of his youngest squads heading into the 2008-09 season, his 20th with his alma mater. 

While the Terps have a plethora of talent at the guard position, the team appears to lack some serious frontcourt depth. 

The graduations of James Gist and Bambale Osby have left the Terrapins with just a handful of inexperienced big men who played limited minutes last season.

This year’s schedule will prove to be daunting if the Terps do not develop a post-presence before the ACC slate kicks off.

What’s even more troubling is the fact that the Terps are the only team in the entire ACC to play North Carolina and Duke twice, two teams which are currently sitting in the Top 10.

In this article, we’ll rundown the Top 10 games Maryland fans will look forward to the most.  Let’s get started, shall we?

10) vs. American—12/22/08:  Yes, American is an interesting game this year.  Why, you ask?  Because the Eagles, who eventually went on to capture the Patriot League Championship, stunningly defeated the Terps last year on Maryland’s home court.  The last time that happened?  1926.

9) vs. Michigan—12/3/08: Maryland meets its second Big Ten opponent of the season as they host Michigan back in College Park as part of the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge.  While not the most formidable foe in the conference, Maryland does not plan to take John Beilein’s team lightly. 

8) vs. Virginia Tech—2/14/09:  The Hokies have had the Terps number since joining the ACC.  In fact, the Terps have won just one out of their last four meetings with Virginia Tech.  Fortunately, they only play Seth Greenberg’s team once this year.

7) vs. Miami– 1/31/09:  The Hurricanes have always given the Terps a headache, especially since Miami has won five of its last six meetings against Maryland.  In other words, the Terrapins have won just one game against the Canes since joining the conference.  Senior (and Baltimore native) Jack McClinton will have Maryland keep taking their Advil unless they’re constantly defending him.

6) at Clemson– 2/19/09:  Rest assured, the Terrapins clearly remember Terrence Oglesby’s winning three-point shot at the end of regulation last year at the Comcast Center which all but eliminated the Terps’ hopes for the NCAA Tournament. 

It was Maryland’s toughest loss of the season and the Terps would love nothing more than to seek revenge against the Tigers.  A win on the road here would greatly improve the Terps’ RPI.

5) vs. Michigan State—11/27/08 (Old Spice Classic): Less than two weeks away, this ACC/Big Ten matchup will serve as a barometer to where both teams stand in terms of development and talent.  It will also be both teams’ first true test of the season.  A victory over the Spartans would help solidify Maryland’s resume if they’re on the NCAA bubble.

4) at North Carolina—2/3/09:  Many Carolina fans would tell you that Duke is their rival, but you can bet that the Tar Heels would love nothing more than to beat Maryland after the Terps upset them at the Dean Dome last season when they were ranked No.1, in front of a nationally televised audience no less. 

In fact, UNC hasn’t defeated the Terps since 2006.  The Tar Heels are stacked this year and an upset seems very out of the question this time around.

3) at Duke—1/24/09: Seeking revenge after last year’s loss, the Terps hope to continue their winning ways at Cameron Indoor Stadium in this nationally televised showdown.  The last time Maryland won at Durham was back in 2007 when then-freshman Greivis Vasquez nearly posted a triple-double.  The Terps will have to rely on the Venezuelan once more to notch a victory at Duke.

2) vs. North Carolina—2/21/09: The last time UNC visited College Park, Maryland overcame a 12 point deficit and defeated the No.5 Tar Heels in dramatic fashion.  With the home crowd behind them, this could be an interesting matchup to watch.  What’s noteworthy about the scheduling of this game is that it is the first of a two-game home series.  The Terps face Duke just three days later.

1) vs. Duke—2/25/09: Just a month after visiting Cameron, and three days after hosting UNC, the Terps take on the Blue Devils for their second meeting of the season.  Maryland fans look forward to this game the most as the Comcast Center reaches record-breaking decibel levels while cheering against one its most hated rivals.

It’s always the toughest ticket in College Park it seems as many “fans” come out of the woodwork.  Amazingly, they’re nowhere to be found in the earlier non-conference games of the season where the outcomes are just as important.