Oftentimes, it’s easy to figure out why an exhibition opponent gets lined up.
Last year, for instance, Maryland faced Northwood, an NAIA team coached by Rollie Massimino. Coach Gary Williams faced Massimino when both were in the Big East (Williams at Boston College, Massimino at Villanova).
But the tie-in between Indiana (Pa.) and Maryland isn’t quite as obvious.
“We’ve talked to them for a couple years about doing it,” Williams said. “I thought they’d have a good team this year. They were picked first in their league in the preseason. Hopefully, that goes into it. You really don’t gain much if you win by 40 in any game. So, hopefully this will be competitive.”
Indeed, the Crimson Hawks are hardly chumps – 22-8 a year ago to go along with a NCAA Division II tournament appearance, and they’re the preseason favorites in the PSAC West. This is first step in a bit of an ACC barnstorming tour, with dates against Wake Forest and Georgia Tech also set for the next week.
They even have a guy who has played in Comcast Center before – former Boston College forward Akida McLain, who logged 12 minutes in a December 2005 game that marked the Eagles’ ACC debut.
Will it be as close as three years ago, when the Terps barely survived California (Pa.) 79-78? Tough to say. But on paper, other than the sort of size differential expected from a Division II team, Indiana (Pa.) looks like an outfit that could prove initially pesky.