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Maryland basketball is playing a soft non-conference schedule. Is that good?

It’s the Maryland Minute for the first day of July.

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State and Maryland last played two seasons ago.
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland’s full non-conference men’s basketball schedule is out. Here is a visual representation of that schedule, in the form of a soft roll of tissue paper:

Wood Products Manufacturer Produces Bio-Friendly Goods Photo by Jeff T. Green/Getty Images

Assuming Maryland beats Richmond and then plays Kansas State in the Barclays Classic in November, the Terrapins will play 13 out-of-league games. Thanks to old friend Dave Tucker, who calculated that the average Ken Pomeroy ranking of those opponents last season was 157th in the country. Their combined record? 224-223:

  • Nov. 11: American University
  • Nov. 15: at Georgetown
  • Nov. 17: St. Mary’s College of Maryland
  • Nov. 20: Towson
  • Nov. 22: Stony Brook
  • Nov. 25: Richmond (Barclays Classic)
  • Nov. 26: Kansas State (or maybe Boston College) (Barclays Classic)
  • Nov. 29: Pittsburgh
  • Dec. 3: Oklahoma State
  • Dec. 7: Howard
  • Dec. 10: Saint Peter’s
  • Dec. 12: Jacksonville State
  • Dec. 20: vs. Charlotte (at Royal Farms Arena)

Maryland is playing a very easy non-conference slate. The Terps are not challenging themselves, not really even a little bit.

There’s exactly one power conference NCAA Tournament team here, and that team, Pitt, figures to be worse without Jamie Dixon than it was with him. (I don’t mean to knock No. 13 seed Stony Brook, which got the America East auto-bid last season.)

Oklahoma State was pretty good when Maryland set this series up a few years ago, but the Cowboys are bad now. They went 12-20 last season, and it’s tough to envision them being good in 2016-17. That’s not some blockbuster.

Unless Georgetown, Pitt or Oklahoma State gets a lot better in the first month of next season, Maryland will go into Big Ten play with a total of zero quality wins. That’s a tough reality for a team that will need to prove itself. It won’t help their RPI.

On another hand, Maryland will probably start the season 12-1 or 13-0. For a team with a bunch of new rotation pieces and at least four new starters, there’s real value in that. Maryland won’t be tested and won’t make any real noise, but it also likely won’t lose. Playing it safe doesn’t mean playing it dumb, in other words.

It's also worth nothing that Maryland isn't the only Big Ten school playing a nothing schedule. (Seriously, take a look at Northwestern's non-conference games and try not to shoot your milk out your nose laughing. You can't.) Going soft at the beginning of the year is not a distinctly Maryland thing, nor is it obviously a sign of weakness.

What’s your take on the non-conference schedule? Comment away.

In other news ...

Ahmed Ghafir reports that Maryland freshman offensive lineman Terek Zingale left the program after two days. That's a shame, but it's probably no big deal for the Terps.

A cool piece on former Maryland basketball player Nik Caner-Medley and his personal finances.

We podcasted about Maryland and the NBA.

Tehuti Miles is a real-life kind of hero, and he also plays football for Maryland.

The Diamondback on Torrey Smith and Dexter McDougle: worth a read.

A great chance for former Maryland forward Evan Smotrycz, with the Raptors' summer league team.

Former Maryland tight end Matt Furstenburg has a cool story to tell from the business world. It sounds familiar.