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Top of the Arc - January 13, 2009

Jan. 13, 9 a.m.: Well, I scrolled through 300-plus college basketball schedules over the past few days to reach this conclusion: Maryland is the only Division I team in the country yet to play a true road game.

Even the slew of softies in the Southeastern Conference managed to visit another school’s campus at least once. When I asked Maryland Coach Gary Williams about this scheduling quirk before the season, he pointed to the strength of the Orlando Old Spice Classic. And he does have a point: it was in fact a particularly strong preseason field. But it still was not a true road game.

One schedule that jumped out as particularly weak was Louisiana State’s. The Tigers left the cozy confines of Baton Rouge just once before New Year’s, and that was to play Texas A&M on a neutral court in Houston. The Tigers have since played two road games, at Utah and Alabama, losing both. Their strength of schedule is 311, the worst of any power conference team.

Will the absence of a non-conference road game hurt Maryland? Probably not, just as long as the Terrapins prove they can win on the road in the ACC. I was also curious about teams that recently reached the tournament with poor road records:

Two years ago, a 22-11 Michigan State team reached the tournament with a 1-8 road record. The Spartans did have six wins over top 50 teams. Georgia Tech also reached the tournament that year with a 1-8 road record, but the Yellow Jackets had eight top 50 wins.

Greivis Vasquez says he loves playing on the road and feeding off the crowd. After 15 games, he finally will get his chance tomorrow in Miami.

By Eric Prisbell  |  January 13, 2009; 9:00 AM ET
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