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Breaking down No. 7 Maryland men’s basketball nonconference schedule: Orlando Invitational

The eight-team tournament will provide the Terps with an early season test.

Photo courtesy of ESPN Events

There are only five days remaining until the start of the 2019-20 season for No. 7 Maryland men’s basketball.

Our player preview series is over, which means its time to turn to the schedule. Following the first five games against lesser-known nonconference opponents, which includes a handful of talented players, the Terps will turn their attention to the Orlando Invitational and some tougher opponents.

First, Maryland will travel to Orlando to face Temple and then either Texas A&M or Harvard. If it advances, it could face the likes of USC, Fairfield, Davidson or Marquette as well.

First Round — Nov. 28

Temple Owls
2018-19 record: 23-10 (13-5 American)
Head coach: Aaron McKie
Returning starters: G Quinton Rose, G Nate Pierre-Louis, F De’Vondre Perry

After serving under former Temple head coach Fran Dunphy for five seasons, Aaron McKie replaced him, being hired as the Owls’ next head coach in April.

McKie takes over a team that made it to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in three seasons but was eliminated by the Belmont Bruins, who are a familiar opponent to the Terps.

Temple returns three starters, including senior guard Quinton Rose, junior guard Nate Pierre-Louis and junior forward De’Vondre Perry, that will be vital for McKie as he looks to bring a new culture to the program.

In the American Athletic Conference Preseason Poll, the Owls were chosen to finish seventh, while Rose was chosen to the preseason first team and Pierre-Louis was named to the preseason second team, respectively.

Second Round — Nov. 29

Texas A&M Aggies
2018-19 record: 14-18 (6-12 Big 12)
Head coach: Buzz Williams
Returning starters: G Savion Flagg, G Wendell Mitchell, G TJ Starks, G Jay Jay Chandler

The Buzz Williams era is underway in College Station. Entering his first season at the helm, Williams will attempt to make his fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and first with the Aggies, who are just two years removed from a Sweet 16 appearance.

Texas A&M returns four of its top five scorers, each averaging over eight points per contest.

To nobody’s surprise, No. 2 Kentucky was chosen to win the SEC, while the Aggies were selected to finish as the No. 12 team in the conference.

If this matchup comes to fruition, it certainly will be an interesting storyline. Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon came to College Park after coaching Texas A&M for four seasons, leading the program to four consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament and winning Big 12 Coach of the Year honors twice.


Harvard Crimson
2018-19 record: 19-12 (10-4 Ivy League)
Head coach: Tommy Amaker
Returning starters: F Chris Lewis, G Christian Juzang, G Justin Bassey, G Bryce Aiken, Fifth Starter (rotated all year, everyone returns)

Coming off of its second consecutive title, Harvard is geared up for what could be another successful year. With Crimson head coach Tommy Amaker back for his 13th season, Harvard is the heavy favorite to win the conference, receiving 15-of-17 first place votes.

The team is seeking its first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2015 and will rely heavily on unanimous All-Ivy First Team selection Bryce Aiken. The senior guard averaged 22.2 points per contest last year and is widely regarded as the conference’s most dynamic scorer.

Third Round — Nov. 29 or Dec. 1

USC Trojans
2018-19 record: 16-17 (8-10 PAC-12)
Head coach: Andy Enfield
Returning starters: F Nick Rakocevic, G Jonah Mathews

After an underwhelming season, USC lost three starters and Kevin Porter Jr. is now a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Entering into head coach Andy Enfield’s seventh season, the Trojans were selected to finish fifth in the conference but received one first place vote. Most recently, USC came off a 72-61 exhibition win over No. 10 Villanova.


Fairfield Stags
2018-19 record: 9-22 (6-12 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference)
Head coach: Jay Young
Returning starters: G Landon Taliaferro, G Jesus Cruz, G Taj Benning

Maryland already has Fairfield on its schedule, as the two schools will meet at the Xfinity Center on Nov. 19. Check out our preview of the Stags in our first schedule breakdown.


Davidson Wildcats
2018-19 record: 24-10 (14-4 Atlantic-10)
Head coach: Bob McKillop
Returning starters: G Kellan Grady, G Jon Axel Gudmundsson, F Luka Brajkovic, G KiShawn Pritchett

Davidson, most known for hosting Steph Curry in his college days, returns four of its starters, three of which were the team’s leading scorers in 2018-19. In the Atlantic-10 preseason poll, the Wildcats were picked to finish second, and guards Kellan Grady and Jon Axel Gudmundsson received all-conference first team nominations.


Marquette Golden Eagles
2018-19 record: 24-10 (12-6 Big East)
Head coach: Steve Wojciechowski
Returning starters: G Markus Howard, G Sacar Anim, F Theo John

After a successful season in the Big East last year before losing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Marquette was returning all five of its starters and seemed poised to be one of the best teams in the country.

However, that all changed when the Hauser brothers — Sam and Joey — transferred out of the program. Now, the Golden Eagles are ranked fourth in the Big East preseason poll, and they didn’t crack the initial AP Top 25.


Cody: Maryland beats Temple, but loses to Harvard and gets an early season wake up call.

Sean: Sean: Maryland beats Temple, beats Texas A&M and then beats Marquette

Lila: Maryland beats Temple, beats Texas A&M (honestly Harvard will likely win but rooting for the Turgeon-Aggies storyline) and then beats Davidson.

This isn’t the most hefty tournament, and it’s one that the Terps should be able to pull off a sweep in — though I expect the game against Davidson to be a little too close for comfort.