- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 18, 2004

The new ACC has the same old problems, as well as a few new ones.

The Maryland men’s basketball team again faces a series of tough road trips and high-ranked opponents, but this year the Terrapins also start the conference’s unbalanced schedule. Maryland will have three two-game conference road trips but only a pair of two-game home stands this season in the newly expanded, 11-team league.

The Terrapins will play 18 games against teams that reached the postseason last season and 12 games against the consensus preseason top 30 teams. Even the exhibitions aren’t walkovers: They face Division II power Bryant College on Nov.5 and two-time defending Canadian champion Carleton University on Nov.13.

At least the season will end in friendly surroundings, with the ACC tournament at MCI Center on March10-13.

The defending ACC tournament champion Terps (20-12) will play 11 nationally televised games, including a pair of 9p.m. starts against nemesis Duke. The Feb.12 encounter is sure to be the highlight of the slate at Comcast Center, especially after last year’s fan profanity that sparked conduct changes at the school. There also are two games against ACC newcomer Virginia Tech and a trip to Miami on Feb.5.

“Our schedule allows us to play some of the top teams in the country, and it should be highly rated, just like last season,” coach Gary Williams said in a statement.

Maryland has a pair of tough early nonconference road games within four days. The Terps meet Memphis in Springfield, Mass., on Nov.26 before heading to Wisconsin on Nov.30.

The Terps currently are on a 12-day tour of Italy. Maryland will play five professional teams, starting with Veroli tonight. The Terps play Pistoia on Sunday, Kiev on Tuesday, Biella on Wednesday and Varese on Thursday. Maryland will hold Midnight Madness at Comcast Center on Oct.15.

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