You have to go all the way back to the 1977-78 season to find the last time when Seattle University men's basketball last played an ACC team and even further to the 1952-53 season to find the last time they beat an ACC team (Wake Forest, 99-86).
Granted, this is only their second year participating in Division I sports again after a 29-year hiatus in the NAIA and Division II. But it does speak to the significance of starting the season with a first ever meeting with the University of Maryland tonight. Seattle U is quickly trying to reassert themselves in the national basketball landscape after producing more NBA players than any other school in the 1960s.
Of course, whether it wins or not is another matter entirely.
While Seattle U's strength will likely be on the perimeter, Maryland will present a challenge with some of its strength in the frontcourt after losing star guard Greivis Vasquez.
2010-2011 ACC Basketball Preview - Blogger So Dear
Maryland Terrapins - Now that the hated Greivis Vasquez has finally departed, the question for the Terps is who will step up and take a leadership role. The top candidate for this is almost certainly senior guard Sean Mosley, who averaged 10 points and 5 boards last season. Mosley is joined by fellow seniors Dino Gregory, Cliff Tucker and Adrian Bowie, all of whom have been role players throughout their Maryland careers. Gregory is mostly known for his great defensive ability. Easily the biggest name on the Maryland roster is Jordan Williams. Williams had a fantastic freshman season at center, averaging nearly 10 points and 9 rebounds while showing off impressive post moves and soft hands.
While Mosley is the team's team's leading returning scorer, Williams stands to be the player that gives the Redhawks the most problems. Despite concerns about conditioning problems as a freshman, Williams showed last year that he could not only run the floor, but might have the potential to leave a strong legacy at Maryland.
Maryland Basketball Season Preview: The Bigs - Testudo Times
Coming in as a freshman, Williams was expected to be in too poor of shape to contribute in the ACC. At best, he'd be competing for playing time with the other bigs off the bench. Instead, he claimed a starting role with a 19-point, 13-rebound night against Villanova shortly before ACC play started and became a legitimately game-changing player for Maryland: for the first time since Lonny Baxter, Gary Williams had a wide body to bang in the paint.
So it makes sense that in a preview of the game at SBN's University of Maryland site Testudo Times, Ben Broman concludes that Williams' rebounding against the Charles Garcia-less Redhawks could be a major difference-maker in the game.
Back to Basketball: Looking at Seattle, Maryland's First Opponent of the Season - Testudo Times
Dollar has the Redhawks going in the right direction with recruiting and excitement around the program. Their situation is pretty similar to Maryland's: they lost three starters, including their best player, and are welcoming in a variety of newcomers. The only difference is that Maryland is in much better position to rebound from their losses than the Redhawks, who had less of a talent base and want to go deep but may or may not have the personnel to run the way they want to.
Every game against this type of team should be an easy win, and this one is no different. A team looking for leadership and depth that's just two years removed from D-II status shouldn't be too difficult to best in the Comcast Center. Expect a lot of points - both teams want to run - and, presumably, a lot of rebounds for Jordan Williams, who will be the biggest player on the court. No one knows exactly what to expect out of a young Seattle U team, but I'm skeptical that they'll be able to hang for too long.
It always stings to see someone write that your city's team amounts to nothing more than your average non-conference easy win. But if we're honest, this is not a good match-up for the Redhawks and the likelihood of them taking this one is not necessarily high. That won't stop me from being minimally optimistic: nobody would have expected - or even understood - the Redhawks to blow out Oregon State on the road with Garcia playing limited minutes last year.
Okay, not the same situation, but the game is certainly worth watching just to see how strong a challenge the Redhawks can pose the Terps.
Tonight's game - televised on CSN Northwest at 5 p.m. PST - in College Park is part of the 2010 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer, as described on the Seattle University athletics website.
Men's Basketball Ready to Open Season at Maryland - Seattle University Redhawks Athletics
Besides Maryland, fourth-ranked Pittsburgh, #16 Illinois, and 25th-ranked Texas are hosting contests tonight and Wednesday night. No matter the results of the regional round games, those four teams will move on to Madison Square Garden for the championship rounds of the tournament Nov. 18-19, with Pittsburgh facing Maryland and Illinois going against Texas in the semifinals. Meanwhile, Seattle University will join host UC Irvine, Louisiana Tech and Navy in Irvine, Calif., for one of two subregionals taking place Nov. 19-21. Each team will play three games in three days against the other teams in the subregional. Toledo hosts the second subregional that same weekend, welcoming Rhode Island, Charleston, and Illinois-Chicago for that series of games.
For more on the game from a Maryland perspective, visit SBN's Testudo Times.
For more on Seattle U basketball, visit our preseason storystream.