This past Monday, the Maryland Terrapins social media staff released the Terrapins’ in conference opponents for this upcoming season. For those that don’t know, the Big Ten has fourteen teams in the conference, and in basketball, each team plays five teams twice (one at home and one on the road), four teams just on the road and four teams just at home creating an 18 game in conference schedule.
The Terrapins will be tested by their “mirror” opponents as they drew Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Penn State, and Purdue as they will play them on the road and at the Xfinity Center. The Spartans are the clear favorite in the Big Ten coming into this season with the slight surprise of Miles Bridges returning to school rather than being a mid first round draft pick. Experts are viewing the conference “wide open” after the Spartans but to me, Michigan is the 2nd best with German big man, Mo Wagner returning. They will be out for revenge after the Terps went into Ann Arbor and won last year, and are 3-1 against the Maize and Blue since entering the Big Ten. Northwestern was a fantastic story last season, and expect them to be competitive again with point guard Bryant McIntosh returning. The Terps split the series against them last year, winning on the road in Evanston, but losing in the Big Ten Tournament in DC.
The four teams that the Terrapins will only play against in the Xfinity Center are the Iowa Hawkeyes, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Rutgers Scarlet Knights and Wisconsin Badgers. Other than Rutgers, these three other teams have given the Terrapins fits these past couple of years. Last season, the Terps split the series against the Gophers and Hawkeyes (with each winning on each other’s home floor), and lost their lone game against Wisconsin in Madison. However, these Badgers are seriously depleted losing four out of their five starters from last season. Iowa and Minnesota though are teams on the rise that the Terps cannot take lightly.
Finally, if you’re keeping track, the four teams left that the Terrapins will only play on the road are Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska and Ohio State. The Terrapins are 6-0 combined against Illinois and Ohio State these past two seasons but Nebraska stole a game from the Terps in College Park last season, and Indiana should be stronger than they were this past season with Archie Miller taking over as coach.
The Big Ten is a great conference with no game ever being a walk in the park. The Terrapins cannot take a game for granted, and will be tested, but mainly on their home court, getting relatively lucky with who they drew away from home. The 12 or 13 game out of conference schedule should also be tougher than last seasons (which isn’t saying much) including a mid November home game against Butler and a late November game at Syracuse.