Virginia Game Decision

The decision to postpone the Maryland-Virginia game on Wednesday has been receiving some mixed reaction across the blogsphere. Ticket holders are mostly happy with the decision, as many were upset when Maryland moved forward and played the UNC on Sunday, despite their inability to get to campus to watch the game (FWIW, that decision was made by the ACC; the team and the officials were both in College Park, so ACC protocol said they had to move forward with playing the game. And it was cool to see Comcast full of 17,950 students). But others are concerned that Maryland will now be playing four games in eight days, which obviously is a valid concern, especially when three out of four of those games are against some of the better teams in the conference (Duke, UVA and Georgia Tech). But if this impending storm does what they're predicting, this seems like it was the best option available.

I was told by a source that the decision to postpone the Virginia game was made for a number of reason. The first was that there was a concern that the people needed to clean up campus, as well as the people needed to staff the Comcast Center during a game, wouldn't be able to get there, especially since the storm was expected to continue into the evening on Wednesday. Which brings us to the second reason - this storm would still be going on when the game was suppose to tip off, so even if crews could make it there, any lots they cleaned would become covered again and people could have gotten stuck at Comcast. The third was the violent winds associated with the storm are likely to cause widespread power-outages. Based on that information and insight they received from campus staff who handled getting Comcast open for the UNC game, Gary Williams and Debbie Yow got on the phone with UVA and the ACC to discuss postponing the game. The main factor that seemed to hold up the decision, initially, was finding a make-up date. While the decision was still up in the air, I looked at both team's schedules to find a date that might work.  Here are the remaining schedules for both Maryland and Virginia. 

Maryland

02/10/10 vs. Virginia * TV College Park, Md. 7:00 p.m. ET
02/13/10 at Duke * TV Durham, N.C. 1:00 p.m. ET
02/17/10 at North Carolina State * TV Raleigh, N.C. 9:00 p.m. ET
02/20/10 vs. Georgia Tech * TV College Park, Md. 2:00 p.m. ET
02/24/10 vs. Clemson * TV College Park, Md. 9:00 p.m. ET
02/27/10 at Virginia Tech * TV Blacksburg, Va. 4:00 p.m. ET
03/03/10 vs. Duke * TV College Park, Md. 9:00 p.m. ET
03/06/10 at Virginia * TV Charlottesville, Va. 1:30 p.m. ET

Virginia

  Wed, Feb 10  Maryland * - at College Park, Md.   7 p.m.
ESPNU 
  Sat, Feb 13  Virginia Tech * - at Blacksburg, Va.   8 p.m.
Raycom (Split) 
  Wed, Feb 17  Florida State * - Charlottesville, Va.   7 p.m.
ESPNU 
  Sat, Feb 20  Clemson * - at Clemson, S.C.   4 p.m.
RSN 
  Tue, Feb 23  Miami * - at Coral Gables, Fla.   7 p.m.
RSN 
  Sun, Feb 28  Duke * - Charlottesville, Va.   7:45 p.m.
FSN 
  Wed, Mar 03  Boston College * - at Chestnut Hill, Mass.   9 p.m.
ESPNU 
  Sat, Mar 06  Maryland * - Charlottesville, Va.   1:30 p.m.
Raycom 

As you can see, no date really jumps out at you for a make-up game. The ACC tournament starts on March 11th, so I didn't think either team wanted to play on March 8th or 9th because a). they'd play each other in back to back games and b). they'd be losing prep time for the ACC tournament, where you could potentially face a wide number of teams and thus having those extra practice days is crucial to prepare for a number of different styles of play you could potentially be facing. 

It seemed like the only  possible dates were pushing Wednesday's game back one day, to Thursday, Feb 11th, which would mean each team would have short rest before having to go on the road or Monday, February 15th. I highly doubted Gary wanted to play Duke on short rest and if they rescheduled for Thursday the 11th, there was still no guarantee things would be ready and dug out from the latest snow storm by game time. In all likelihood, they'd still be digging out from the Tuesday-Wednesday storm. So it seemed that the 15th would be the best fit for both teams - UVA would be in Blacksburg on the 13th and is home against FSU on the 17th, so there wouldn't be too much extra travel for them. The Terps are at Duke on the 13th and then at NC State on the 17th, so that gives them a home game between the tobacco road games and gives Maryland some extra time to prep for Duke. And ultimately the 15th was the date they decided on. 

I think the decision was the right one and I think the 15th is probably the best date for each team to make up the game. That also gives ticket holders the opportunity to attend and doesn't put too much stress on either team. But as Ben pointed out earlier, the Terps are going to be running the gauntlet during that four game stretch. Hopefully they'll come out on top.

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