After an off-season lighting it up on the recruiting trail, the Maryland Terrapins begin to turn the team’s attention to the 2017-’18 season. The Terrapins released its non-conference schedule on August 15th and then got its conference set of games a day later.
Let’s a take a look and then break it down.
And then the conference set of games.
Three Thoughts on Maryland’s Schedule
-The Non-Conference Schedule Is Very Manageable
Nothing jumps out at you in a big way for the non-conference schedule. Maryland will welcome Butler on November 15th to College Park as part of the Gavitt Games Big Ten/Big East series. The Terps played crosstown rival Georgetown in the first two iterations of the Gavitt, so it is a bit of a bummer that the Hoyas won’t be on the schedule.
Maryland could play TCU or New Mexico in the Emerald Coast Classic around Thanksgiving. TCU barely missed the NCAA Tournament last year, and returns a pretty good squad. New Mexico disappointed last season and will have a new coach in Paul Weir in 2017-18.
The first big road test for the Terps will come November 27th when they travel to Syracuse. The Orange project as 8th in Jon Rothstein’s early preview of the ACC, so it is a winnable game, but any Carrier Dome contest will be a struggle.
Overall, this is a nice and manageable non-conference set of games against some middle-of-the-road Power 5 teams. You maybe want one more challenging road or neutral court game, but the Terps could get off to a nice start as they adjust to life without Melo Trimble.
-January Is When It Gets Rough
The Terps will begin 2018 with many difficulties in January. They start on the road against conference favorite Michigan State. The road game will be one of five during the month out of eight overall games. After a home game against Iowa (who crushed Maryland in College Park last season) and a road game against Ohio State, Maryland has this run to finish out the month:
- @ Michigan
- vs. Minnesota
- @ Indiana
- vs. Michigan State
- @ Purdue
Michigan State, Purdue, Michigan and Minnesota all project to be among the Big Ten’s top 5-6 teams in the conference, and Indiana has, arguably, the best home court advantage in the Big Ten. If Maryland’s talented sophomore class wants to prove it can hang with the top of the Big Ten, a successful run through this gauntlet will turn a lot of heads.
-The Last Third Of Conference Play Is A Nice Finish
After that tough stretch, Maryland faces a much more manageable final six games. Maryland will play three against some of the projected bottom tier of the conference (Penn State, Rutgers and Nebraska), two against Northwestern and finish with a home game against Michigan.
There will be some tough ones in there - a Michigan game and a road match-up in Chicago stick out immediately. However, there is no doubt the last third of Maryland’s schedule will allow them to either get back on track, or solidify an excellent season.
Maryland will be one of the most interesting teams to follow in 2017-18. The old guard of Trimble and Damonte Dodd have moved on, and in its place is a set of sophomores and a talented recruiting class that could make some noise, but have to be more consistent.
The 2017-18 schedule seems to reflect some of these realities. Maryland will play three non-conference games against middle pack Power 5 schools, and then filled it with other games that they should handle. The conference schedule will be tough, especially in January, but should the Terrapins improve throughout the season, it could set itself up for a nice last 5-6 games. Expect Maryland to be competing for a top five finish in 2017-18.