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UCLA and Kentucky head Maryland schedule

Maryland announced the schedule for its men's basketball team yesterday, and on the list are defending national champion UCLA and the team that figures to start this season ranked No. 1 -- Kentucky.

Coach Gary Williams drew up an ambitious nonconference schedule with All-American Joe Smith in mind. But even after Smith left early for the NBA, Williams added a national power, Missouri, to the lineup.

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Maryland, coming off consecutive Sweet 16 seasons, will play at least seven NCAA tournament teams in the regular season, with the Dec. 3 opponent to be determined.

"This is a tough schedule, but we are going to be a very good basketball team," Williams said in a statement [he's on a golf outing in Scotland]. "The strength of schedule early will get us ready for the ACC season in January.

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"It's going to be a great test to see where we are in our program."

The Terps return four starters -- guards Johnny Rhodes and Duane Simpkins and forwards Exree Hipp and Keith Booth.

After a pair of exhibitions, Maryland will launch its 27-game regular-season schedule in the Tipoff Classic in Springfield, Mass., against Kentucky.

On Dec. 2 and 3, the Terrapins will play in the Franklin National Bank Classic tournament at USAir Arena. The Terps' first game will be against Massachusetts, and the second against either Florida or George Washington.

Then, on Dec. 9, Maryland will meet UCLA at the Pond in Anaheim, Calif., in the Wooden Classic. Purdue will meet Villanova in the first game of the doubleheader that day.

That will mark the first Maryland-UCLA matchup since Dec. 23, 1982, when Maryland won an 80-79 double-overtime thriller at Cole Field House.

Maryland also will meet Towson State at the Baltimore Arena in November. The Terps will again open the ACC schedule against Georgia Tech, although the Jan. 3 game will be at the Omni in Atlanta instead of Alexander Memorial Coliseum.

On Feb. 18, the Terps will host Missouri in a nationally televised game. The Tigers were 20-9 last season and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament, where they barely lost to UCLA.

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Also on the nonconference schedule are Howard, Rider, American, UMES and Delaware State.



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