On Friday, all the excitement and optimism that Maryland had instilled in the fanbase about its 72-63 against No. 13 Iowa State in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic championship game had been dampened. Dez Wells is out for four weeks and a suddenly ultra-intriguing Top 25 matchup with Virginia in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge on Wednesday lost a bit of its luster.
Wells will be out for the next four weeks, which we'll call a month to be a bit more conservative and more easily determine just which games the shooting guard will miss. There are some big games he'll miss — that clash with the No. 8 Cavaliers stands out most — but for the most part the Terrapins got stuck with a relatively good time to lose their best player.
One month from Nov. 28 brings Maryland to the end of its nonconference schedule — it finishes against Oakland on Dec. 27 — and could mean Wells returns just in time for the start of the Terrapins' first Big 10 season. On Dec. 30, the Terps face Michigan State in East Lansing, Mich. The hope is presumably that Maryland's star shooting guard is back for its first conference test of the season even if it is in a limited role.
Until then, the schedule is loaded with six mid-majors, UVA and a trip to Stillwater, Okla., to face Oklahoma State. None of the six mid-majors rank in KenPom's top 160 with North Carolina Central being the best at 165.
Without Wells, the Terps' hopes of upsetting a top 10 Virginia team for the second straight time takes a major hit — especially after Wells held UVA's star guard Malcolm Brogdon to 3-of-9 shooting last year — and that trip to Stillwater becomes a bit more daunting, but starting the Big 10 slate with anything more than a pair of losses would be a major disappointment and and escaping nonconference play with just one loss would have to be considered a rousing success.
Here's the Terrapins' remaining nonconference schedule:
Wednesday: No. 8 Virginia
Dec. 6: Winthrop
Dec. 10: North Carolina Central
Dec. 13: South Carolina Upstate
Dec. 21: at Oklahoma St.
Dec. 27: Oakland