After delaying the Virginia game to Monday, Maryland's next stretch of games just got a lot more tiresome. After starting off against Duke in Cameron on Saturday, they have a quick rebound to play against UVA back at the Comcastle on Monday. Then they head back to Tobacco Road just another two days later, taking on N.C. State, before completing the zig-zags and turning back to College Park for the Georgia Tech game on Saturday.
That's 4 games in 8 days, fun for a fan but hell for a team. It's a safe bet that this run of games will probably be the most physically and mentally draining stretch of the season.
In case you're wondering, four games in eight days isn't an unheard of phenomenon entirely - since the national championship season, it's actually happened four times, not including the ACC tournament, and even earlier this season.
In 2003-04, they played a loaded non-conference slate partially made up of the Big Ten-ACC Challenge and the BB&T Classic, taking on Wisconsin, Gonzaga, West Virginia, and Florida all in the span of a week and a day. They went 2-2 in the stretch, winning the opening and closing games.
Then, in 2006, they kicked off the season with a fast start, actually playing 6 games in 13 days. Twice in that span did they play 4 in 8, albeit with three of the games intersecting - they went 3-1 both times. Granted, those opponents consisted of Farleigh Dickinson, Gonzaga, Chaminade, Arkansas, Nicholls State, and Minnesota - outside of Gonzaga, none were world-beaters or even ACC level teams. Still, quite the achievement.
The last two times are more recent - the Terps played 4 in 8 in both the 2008-09 and 2009-10 years. In 08, it was caused by the Old Spice Classic, and they mirrored 2003-04, going 2-2. Again, they won the opener and closer to the series.
Then, just this season, the Maui Invitational forced the Terps to go 4 in 8. They went 2-2 in that stretch, winning the easy openers (UNH, Chaminade) and losing the next two (Cincy, Wiscy).
All in all, they went a total of 9-7 in the stretch, not including the 2003-04 duplicates. Not bad, not great.
However, all those weeks included back-to-back games caused by tournaments. They usually played some less-than-great teams, and had a long rest after the rough stretch to recover.
That won't be the case here. Not only is this is ACC play, infinitely more intense than OOC play, but they are in the midst of the ACC schedule. They won't get a break after the week, and they won't see a drop in competition level. This may have a bigger effect after the week than during it. Also, there isn't a rest anywhere in this stretch - it's a game every other day each time.
Then again, there are positives. This is an NCAA or ACC tournament type of schedule, so maybe it'll help more in the spring. It also eliminates the possibility of the UVA trap game. There could certainly be worse opponents to play, and UVA will have to deal with the same situation. Not all bad.
Still, I don't envy their position.