One year after arriving as Maryland's men's basketball coach, Mark Turgeon says the nonconference schedule "is not where I want it to be" and that he hopes to toughen it by adding more marquee games in future seasons — perhaps including some in Baltimore.
But a contest at 1st Mariner Arena has not been scheduled for the upcoming season, as he had hoped.
"We really wanted to play a game in Baltimore this year, and we're still trying to do that. I don't think it's going to happen," said Turgeon, who this week began running a series of one-hour, summer-session practices with his young team.
"Financially, it's not working for Maryland and it's not working for the people that wanted to put the game on. I hope we can do it [in future years]. I really want to do it," the coach said.
Baltimore hasn't hosted one of the team's games since November 1999. Maryland football beat Navy in front of an announced 69,348 fans at M&T Bank Stadium in 2010, and the football team is scheduled to return to the city to play West Virginia in 2013 and Virginia Tech in 2014.
Maryland will continue to pursue a basketball game in Baltimore, said Nathan Pine, deputy director for athletics for external operations.
"We'd be interested in a game in Baltimore if it could be put together. It's a huge recruiting base for us, and it would be good for our fans," Pine said.
In the meantime, Maryland has all but completed its nonconference schedule for the coming season — it has not yet been released — and is beginning to look beyond 2012-13
"We've talked about increasing the strength of our schedule as Coach Turgeon gets more recruiting classes under his belt here at Maryland," Pine said.
Maryland would like to continue to play in an early-season tournament each season. The Terps will play Kentucky in Brooklyn, N.Y., in the Barclays Center Classic on Nov. 9.
The Terps also have the ACC/Big Ten Challenge — they'll play at at Northwestern this season — and the BB&T Classic at Washington's Verizon Center.
Maryland's contract with the BB&T — in which the Terps will play George Mason this year — is up after the season, and the school is in discussions with tournament organizers about what happens next.
Turgeon said he would like to supplement future schedules, perhaps with another neutral-site game or a home-and-home series with a top team.
"We're not going to go crazy now that the [Atlantic Coast Conference] has switched [from 16] to 18 games and we're adding Pitt and Syracuse," Turgeon said.
But he said adding neutral-site games in future seasons could help prepare his players for NCAA tournament contests.
Last season, Maryland lost two of three games in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. Turgeon endured a kidney stone during the tournament and frequently wore a pained expression. He said the sloppy play of his overmatched team hurt worse. He believes the Terps will be better equipped to handle big nonconference games in the future.
"As my program gets better and we continue to recruit at a high level, yeah we're going to step it up and challenge our guys," he said.