And you all thought Saturday was the last regular season ACC game in the Maryland - Duke basketball rivalry. NOT! It's tonight when the Maryland women face the Duke women in a match up of two top ten teams. The Terps are ranked ninth in both the AP and USA Today Coaches polls and the Blue Devils are third in the AP poll (which was published before their loss to UNC last Monday night) and seventh in the Coaches Poll.
Is this an important game for Maryland? As they say in some parts of Minne-SOH-ta, "Ya, betcha." The Terps currently sit fourth in the ACC with a record of 8-3. They are a game behind Duke and now tied with NC State (but behind them in a tiebreak situation) since the Wolfpack lost to UNC Sunday, and a half game ahead of UNC. Though the Terps lost the game in Raleigh, the Wolfpack still has to play at Duke and will host Notre Dame. Maryland has beaten the Tar Heels in their only head to head match so a win tonight would give them a tiebreaker edge against both UNC and Duke.
In my opinion, this is also an important game for the Terps psychologically. And not just because it's Duke. And not simply because it's the last chance for a Maryland team to come away from Cameron Indoor with a regular season ACC win. I think they need to beat a top ten team. They've played three games against top teams this season and are 1-2 - having beaten a young, talented and erratic UNC team at Chapel Hill while losing at home to UConn and Notre Dame.
In an interesting twist, Maryland's last win at Duke came six years ago to the day. Coach Brenda Frese wasn't with the team that day as she was giving birth to Markus and Tyler. I remember announcing that just after lunch on a Rebounders bus trip.
To get yourselves psyched, here's some pre-game reading:
First, Molly Geary's excellent preview. (Thanks for stepping in and stepping up, Molly. I just hope you haven't turned me into Wally Pipp.)
Get Pat's lowdown on how to watch.
And in some shameless self-promotion, you can revisit two different takes on the Terps' biggest win over les Diables Bleu, here and here. (And y'all can be glad I'm not sending you back to my long pun story.)
So, what are your thoughts? Here's another opportunity for derogatory comments, about Dookies, Dook coaches, and Cameroon Indoor Stadium (because it is something of a third world facility).