Maryland has moved from the ACC to The Best Conference in Basketball, and now knows exactly who they'll play in this upcoming season. The full schedule is here, but here's a fancy tweet to demonstrate:
Starting off their tenure in the Big Ten with a trip to East Lansing is quite the challenge. Michigan State and Maryland are two perennial powers, and the Izzone will roll out the red carpet for the Terrapins.
Luckily for Maryland, their following games aren't bad. They host Minnesota, then travel to Illinois and Purdue, and return home to play Rutgers. All of those should be wins. On January 17, they have a rematch with Michigan State, but this time it's on their home turf. Terrapin fans (and all fans of Big Ten basketball) should circle that game on their calendars. We've heard so much about Maryland's home-court advantage, and this will be the XFINITY Center's chance to shine for the Big Ten. I don't think they beat Michigan State on the road, but I see them pulling off the upset at home.
The rest of January is no cakewalk. Maryland takes their first trips to Indiana and Ohio State as a member of the Big Ten. But thankfully, they play Northwestern in between those two games and play Penn State right after, so they won't be too overwhelmed.
The beginning of February is heavy on the Penn State, which is usually indicative of wins. They play the Nittany Lions twice in the span of 10 days, but travel to Iowa and host Indiana in between. Terrapin fans should be careful of Iowa. Those road games are always challenges for Big Ten teams, and their first trip won't be easy.
Luckily, the toughest part of their schedule is all at home. To close out February, Maryland hosts Nebraska, Wisconsin and Michigan - all essential locks for the NCAA Tournament. Those games will be crucial to see where Maryland lands in the Big Ten standings. If they can take two out of three in that stretch, they could easily wind up with a bye in their first Big Ten tournament. If Maryland wants to boost their tournament resume, there's no better time to do it than those three games.
They end the season with two road games, one against Rutgers and one against Nebraska. On the road against Nebraska will be challenging, but will by no means be an impossible feat. All in all, Maryland fans should be content with their schedule. They only play Ohio State, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin once, and play the Wolverines and Badgers (two of the best teams in the conference) at home.
It's hard to pin down expectations for Maryland. On the one hand, they return Dez Wells and bring in a talented crop of freshmen. However, 5 players transferred from last season's squad. With that in mind, Maryland should be thankful that they have a kind conference schedule. Outside of their home stretch to end February, the majority of their tough games are spaced out. But hey, it'll still be a B1G transition.