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Mid-Majors on Maryland's Horizon Gives Time to Work Out Lineup, Kinks

With all the hubbub surrounding the Dino or Jordan debate currently raging (well, maybe steaming?), it's important to note one thing that most people have realized but some surely haven't: that Maryland has almost a month before their next game against major competition.

Between now and January 10, Maryland plays Eastern Kentucky, Winston-Salem State, Florida Atlantic, William & Mary, and UNC-Greensboro. While W&M could present a challenge, it's pretty safe to safe to say that those are five games Maryland should handily win - the talent level difference will be pretty sizable.

That will afford Maryland and Gary plenty of time to mess with the lineup and figure out the right mix between Jordan and Dino. That's a good thing; it gives Dino time to knock the rust off and time for Gary to get everyone in the right place.

There is, however, a major disadvantage: the natural advantage of Jordan over Dino - size, and thus defense, post offense, and rebounding - is lessened by the competition. When they're playing Florida Atlantic, the size of the defender and the offensive player doesn't much matter when the talent level is vastly different - that is to say, Dino will be able to overcome size deficiencies against lesser opponents more easily.

That talent advantage dissipates in ACC play, and that's when Williams becomes so much more valuable. No matter how cut Dino is, he's still ultimately 6-7, and that will hurt against long teams like Georgia Tech and Florida State. Going up against lesser competition might not entirely prepare the team and the lineup for the long run.

Then again, Dino has supposedly been dominating practices, and the best player should always play. I will harbor doubts until he goes up against a legit center, though, if he starts.

Either way, I expect to see two or three different lineups, if not more, during the mid-major period.

It also provides some time for Greivis Vasquez to get back on his feet after his slow start. Maryland will need him come tourney time.

While we're on the topic of the immediate future, assuming Maryland wins out (as they should, though history tells us that rarely happens), the Terps will be 10-3 in OOC play with no major wins except for an okay Indiana road win. 9-7 and a few ACCT wins will probably be necessary to make the dance. Anything less than a winning record in conference play, and they'll be sweating on Sunday. 10 wins would be preferable.

As I mentioned before, Maryland has a nasty habit of losing games they should win. Last year had Morgan State, the year before had Ohio and American, so on and so far. It's been a standard the past few years. If it happens again, there will be no room for error in conference play whatsoever.

Still too early to predict anything in particular, but saying that a 9 or 10 win conference year would be necessary isn't much of a stretch if they happen to drop one of these.

So sit back, relax, pray to win, and watch Maryland beat up on some mid-majors.