Terps to open ACC play, then hit the road


- This is not how Maryland wanted to open the Atlantic Coast Conference schedule - two games in three days, with the second on the road.

Coach Gary Williams shook his head at a scheduling oddity that had the Terps off for six days before beginning their conference slate with a home game against Florida State on Sunday, followed by a visit to Wake Forest on Tuesday night.


"No other team in the ACC starts that way - with two games in three days," Williams said Saturday.

Maryland (9-4), Virginia Tech and North Carolina are the last schools in the conference to begin league play. Each team opens today. The Hokies then wait two days before playing their next game at home. The Tar Heels also have two days off, followed by a road contest. The Terps are off only Monday.


"The thing you want is a level playing field," Williams said.

No one could be reached for comment Saturday at the league offices in Greensboro, N.C.

Maryland has said previously that the ACC's four North Carolina schools enjoy a travel advantage. "Say North Carolina plays Wake Forest, N.C. State and Duke," Williams said in a preseason interview. "There are three road games where they sleep in their own bed, eat their own food, don't pay any money for travel. We don't have that luxury here."

Williams and the Terps must now focus on No. 18 Florida State (13-2, 1-0 ACC) - ranked No. 1 in the nation in field-goal percentage defense at 33.7 percent.

The defense is anchored inside by center Solomon Alabi, a 7-foot-1 sophomore who is tied for the conference lead in blocked shots with North Carolina's Ed Davis at 2.9 per game.

The Seminoles have consistently won low-scoring games. They surrender an average of 56.9 points, lowest in the league. They have lost only at Florida and Ohio State.

"We know they're one of the biggest teams in the country and that they can block a lot of shots," Maryland senior guard Eric Hayes said.

Hayes indicated the Terps will need inside-outside balance on offense. "We're really stressing making the extra pass [in practice] and finding the open guy," he said.