So the ACC has seemingly finalized the 2013-2014 conference basketball schedule - which will be Maryland's last as a member of the conference - and they've given the Terps more or less the least-appetizing draw possible. Surprised? Us neither.
The conference didn't give Maryland send-off home games against either Duke or North Carolina, both big draws of significant importance; N.C. State, which is a bit of a semi-rival, will also be a road-only contest. The home game against Virginia was the only real bone thrown their way, but it's clear they were looking to do the Terrapins no favors. (Of course, in doing so they likely reinforced the downsides of the new-look ACC - that is, that this type of thing would be happening more and more anyway.) Regardless, as expected, the last year's shaping up to be a grind.
The full breakdown is below:
Home game opponents: Florida State*, Georgia Tech, Miami, Notre Dame, Pitt*, Syracuse, Virginia*, Virginia Tech*, Wake Forest
Road game opponents: Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State*, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Pitt*, Virginia*, Virginia Tech*
The good news: the home-and-away opponents are particularly beatable. Virginia and Pittsburgh are likely tournament teams next season, but they won't be top-tier opponents; Florida State shouldn't challenge the top-end of the conference, either, and Virginia Tech will likely be in the basement. That's not great for RPI, necessarily, but it does mean there's a very good chance of racking up wins in the ACC - especially because, of the road-only opponents, two are games that should be wins anyway - emphasis, obviously, on should. Not getting Duke or Carolina at home, though, will make it tougher to notch any huge resumé win, and puts a bit of added pressure on their non-con schedule.
Mostly, though, this is exactly what was expected: it's a pretty standard ACC schedule, with the three juiciest games happening away from College Park. A conference schedule is only going to affect SOS and the actual wins and losses only marginally; the big story is not getting one more crack at Duke, Carolina, or State in Comcast.
Ah, well. I guess I can live with this being my last memory of a Maryland-Duke game in College Park.