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A look at the NCAAs, Longwood and other mysteries

*Here's a mystery. How is it that Longwood ended up being scheduled literally in the middle of Maryland's conference schedule instead of up front with most of the other nonconference opponents?

I'm not saying we don't all love the Lancers (8-18, including 0-13 on the road).What's not to love? It just seems odd to have them visiting this time of year (tomorrow night at 8:00).

Most of the other ACC schools completed their non-conference schedule weeks ago. Duke did play St. John's recently, but that was a made-for-national-television game. Terps-Lancers isn't on CBS, as far as I know.

Anyway. my question isn't just rhetorical. I am pursuing this with Maryland. The best answer I've received so far is that there is an “open week” in ACC schedules. It may be that the team did not want to go that long (a week) without a game. But I will try to verify that.

After the Longwood game, the Terps will continue their conference push to try to position themselves for an NCAA tournament bid. Some of my media colleagues have suggested Maryland missed its chance this season because of its losses, most of them close, to teams that have been ranked -- Duke, Villanova, Pitt, Temple, Illinois. But I think the schedule (Longwood notwithstanding) still affords opportunities if the Terps can take advantage. North Carolina has gotten hot at the right time (late in the season instead of early) and has moved to No. 20. The Terps play back-to-back games against Florida State at home and the Heels on the road on Feb. 23 and Feb. 27. Those are the Nos. 2 and 3 teams in the ACC.

Maryland will also have the opportunity to buttress its case at the ACC tournament a month from now. I don't pretend to know what will happen, but I do know there are some "quality" opponents remaining on the docket.

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