Maryland's campus is stricken with Terrapin sports-related anxiety, and it isn't in anticipation for this weekend's border (or is it boarder)-battle football game against West Virginia.
More of the campus's athletic focus is on Maryland's quick rise to the top of the men's college basketball-world under the direction of fifth-year head coach Mark Turgeon. After coaching a good but not great team to a 28-7 record last season, ranking as high as no. 8 in the AP Poll and landing the No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament, this year marks Turgeon's best shot yet to end Maryland's 13-year Final Four hiatus.
But that's not the only drought that may end next season. With ESPN's family of network airing three Saturday home Big Ten conference games at Maryland, it's a distinct possibility that the network's "College Gameday" returns to College Park for the first time in 11 years.
"Gameday" has been to College Park just once – in 2005, when Maryland beat Duke, 99-92 in overtime.
Back to next season: Maryland's Saturday home games on ESPN include Ohio State (Jan. 16), Purdue (Feb. 6) and Wisconsin (Feb. 13).
With Wisconsin coming off a Final Four appearance last season, and ranking 24th on ESPN's No-Longer-Way-Too-Early Top 25 (subscription required), a Badgers-Terps game a few weeks before conference tournaments might turn out to be the most desirable date. Though the Badgers lost Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker to the draft this summer, they are returning two key pieces Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes, who DraftExpress currently projects as a late first round pick in its 2016 mock draft.
Purdue is likely the next option, returning four of its five leading scorers from last season, boasting two true 7-footers in Isaac Haas and AJ Hammons (who's projected a late second-round pick by DraftExpress) and a five-star freshman forward in Caleb Swanigan. The Boilermakers will be one of the toughest matchups for the Terps, and are expected to finish top five in the Big 10.
Losing Shannon Scott, Sam Thompson and the no. 2 pick in the NBA Draft last season D'Angelo Russell has the Ohio State Buckeyes in a rebuilding year. If chemistry can build between four incoming four-star recruits Jaquan Lyle, Daniel Giddens, Austin Grandstaff and A.J. Harris, an experienced Terps lineup against the newcomers could make for some entertaining basketball.
Maryland has three additional opportunities to be featured on College Gameday on the road. They play the Badgers and Boilermakers again and also head to East Lansing at the end of January to compete against Tom Izzo's Spartans. The two faced off in one of the most exciting Big Ten games of the 2014-15 season, when Dez Wells returned to the lineup after a wrist injury to lead the Terps to a double-overtime win. Michigan State lost Travis Trice and Branden Dawson, but return Denzel Valentine (who played this summer with Melo Trimble in the Pan-American games) and add three 4-star recruits: Deyonta Davis, Matt McQuaid and Kyle Ahrens.