Maryland basketball announced its full non-conference schedule on Monday, and it's light on tough matchups. The Terps start the season on the road, but won’t test themselves much before Big Ten play.
Maryland’s toughest competition is sandwiched between a slate of lighter opponents, and Mark Turgeon’s squad will have to use it to prove it is worthy of a top-25 designation.
Maryland is familiar with its opening-night opponent, as the Terps beat Stony Brook 77-63 in College Park last season. Now it’s the Terps’ turn to hit the road on Nov. 10, though the outcome should, likely, be similar.
The Terrapins return to College Park to face their university system affiliate, Maryland Eastern Shore, before a six-game stretch anchored by marquee matchups, and littered with trap games.
That stretch opens with a home matchup with Butler in the Gavitt Games on Nov. 15, which looks like the Terps’ hardest non-conference game. The Bulldogs are coming off a Sweet 16 appearance, and will be Maryland’s best shot to show where it ranks against a probable tournament team.
Maryland then invites Bucknell and Jackson State to the Xfinity Center before heading to Florida for the Emerald Coast Challenge. The Terps will see Atlantic 10 Player of the Year Jalen Adams and Saint Bonaventure on Nov. 24, then will face either New Mexico or TCU on Nov. 25. Following the two-day tournament, Maryland heads north to face Syracuse in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Nov. 27.
This is a stretch that could give the Terps trouble if they’re not careful. It’s worth noting that Jackson State is the only team on Maryland’s schedule that carried an RPI over 300 last season, while every other team in this stretch was ranked in the top-100 RPI.
However, strength of schedule won’t give Maryland much of the benefit of doubt. If Maryland drops a game or two along this stretch, wins over Ohio or Fairleigh Dickinson later in the out-of-conference schedule would do little to help make up ground in the polls.
Despite losing Melo Trimble, this team still has the talent to keep up. The Terps’ trio of fantastic freshmen are now sophomores, and four-star recruits Darryl Morsell and Bruno Fernando should contribute as freshmen. It might take some time for the team to work out the new dynamics, but their non-conference schedule should give them ample opportunity to figure things out.
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