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More Thoughts on Maryland's Basketball Schedule: Villanova, Temple Highlight Non-Conference Slate

I'm guessing you've heard that Maryland basketball has released its schedule, and it's a pretty nice slate. Dave already directed you to the link on the sched, but seeing as how I just checked into my hotel, a few more thoughts:

That murderer's row I talked about a few months ago of Nova, Temple, Pitt, and Illinois/Temple actually did come through. Yikes. The only relief is that Penn State, not a better Big Ten team like Michigan State, is the Terps' opponent in the ACC-B10 challenge.

The advantages of that slate are pretty obvious - a higher SoS, a shot at multiple non-con resume wins, and a higher national profile - but it also means that if the Terps lose to Pitt, Illinois/Texas, Temple, and Villanova, all of which will probably be favored to happen, the OOC record will be a little worse than usual. Hopefully the higher SoS should balance that out - just ask VT - but it's still a bit of a risk.

The ACC opener is a little early this year, coming on Dec. 12 against Boston College, and is separated from the rest of the schedule by three gimmee games against NJIT, North Florida, and Colgate.

The problem is that once that ACC play gets going full strength, Maryland's most brutal stretch comes into play. How does this sound: at Duke, at Wake, at Villanova, then back home against Virginia Tech and Clemson. That includes two of the top three teams in the conference, a top 25 non-con team on the road, and traditionally very good squads. Not at all an appetizing start to the full conference slate.

The good news is that the end of the schedule is, for the most part, pretty easy. The final two games, at Miami and at home against UVA, should be wins. There is an away game against North Carolina, which will be a tough grab, but before that there are home games against North Carolina State and Florida State. Considering Maryland should be jockeying for ACC position with both of those teams, it's a pretty nice end to the season.

First impression prediction: 21 wins. That should be enough to make the NCAA tournament, as long as they show up in the ACC tournament, too.