- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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1. Maryland coach Mark Turgeon isn't going to say that the Terps got shafted by the ACC in their final season before moving to the Big Ten for the 2014-15 season. Good. Why? Well, the Terps got a fair deal in terms of balance. "We are road-heavy early but we finish with a lot at home," said Turgeon. The Terps play four of their first six on the road in the ACC, which includes a December game at Boston College. There is a brutal stretch in the middle of the ACC with four of five on the road (at Virginia Tech, at North Carolina, Florida State, at Virginia and at Duke). But if the Terps can get through that then they finish with five games, four of which are at home. That schedule could put the Terps in position to earn a bid if they are worthy. Look at the last five games: Wake Forest, Syracuse, at Clemson, Virginia Tech and Virginia. The Terps get the Orange at home, which could be a bid-type earning game. Ending with a Virginia team that should be in the NCAA mix as well is a plus. The one road game is against a lower-level Clemson team. Sure, the Terps don't get Duke and North Carolina at home. But they don't have to go to Syracuse or Notre Dame. Conspiracy theories can abound but this schedule is fair for the Terps in their final ACC sendoff.
2. The ACC has an unbalanced schedule with 15 teams. But it may want to tweak the final weekend a bit. The last Saturday has the highlight game of North Carolina at Duke, but the other three games do not appear to be too enticing in Pitt-Clemson, Wake-Miami and Virginia Tech-Georgia Tech. The Sunday finale has a marquee Virginia-Maryland for one last time with BC-NC State and Syracuse-Florida State. Notre Dame's ACC season ends the previous Monday at North Carolina. One team needs to be off that final weekend, but it's too bad its a a possible contending team in the Irish. Going forward, the ACC should try to create more rivalries to end the regular season to join UNC-Duke. Putting a Syracuse-Louisville game on that final weekend would make sense. So, too, would a Notre Dame-Pitt game. Putting other rivalry games that potentially have ACC title/NCAA seed ramifications would strengthen the league even more.
3. Bryant coach Tim O'Shea may have an opening on his staff, and if he does, he will likely hire former Boston College coach Al Skinner. It would be a home run hire. Skinner still tops the list of BC's all-time winningest coaches and a former ACC and Big East coach of the year. Skinner has been out of basketball for the last three years but has interviewed for a number of jobs, including Northwestern and UMass-Lowell. Skinner has been to a number of Bryant games the past few seasons, watching his former assistant coach at BC. O'Shea would be showing tremendous friendship and loyalty by bringing Skinner back to Division I. Adding him to a staff with Happy Dobbs would give the NEC upstarts the most experienced staff in the league. Bryant made the CBI last season in first year of Division I eligibility.