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The Maryland Terrapins basketball team released their 2014-2015 schedule Thursday night, and for the first time in 61 years, there are zero ACC teams on the conference schedule. Talk about an odd feeling. Fortunately for the basketball team, unlike their football counterparts, Big Ten commish Jim Delany did not deliver Maryland a gauntlet of a schedule. Instead, they get a pretty reasonable one, which you can find below:
December 30: Maryland at Michigan State
January 3: Minnesota at Maryland
January 7: Maryland at Illinois
January 10: Maryland at Purdue
January 14: Rutgers at Maryland
January 17: Michigan State at Maryland
January 22: Maryland at Indiana
January 25: Northwestern at Maryland
January 29: Maryland at Ohio State
February 4: Penn State at Maryland
February 8: Maryland at Iowa
February 10: Indiana at Maryland
February 14: Maryland at Penn State
February 19: Nebraska at Maryland
February 24: Wisconsin at Maryland
February 28: Michigan at Maryland
March 3: Maryland at Rutgers
March 8: Maryland at Nebraska
Sat., Nov. 1: San Francisco State (Exhibition)
Sat., Nov. 8: Bowie State (Exhibition)
Fri., Nov. 14: Wagner
Mon., Nov. 17: Central Connecticut State
Thu., Nov. 20: Fordham
Mon., Nov. 24: vs. Arizona State (CBE Hall of Fame Classic)
Tue., Nov. 25: vs. TBD (Alabama or Iowa State, CBE Hall of Fame Classic)
Fri., Nov. 28: Monmouth
Sun., Nov. 30: VMI
Wed., Dec. 3: Virginia (ACC/Big Ten Challenge)
Sat., Dec. 6: Winthrop
Wed., Dec. 10: NC Central
Sat., Dec. 13: USC Upstate
Sun., Dec. 21: at Oklahoma State
Sat., Dec. 27: Oakland
Virginia, that’s the only remaining tie to the ACC for the Terrapins. Still, there’s plenty of memory carryover from their ACC days. Maryland’s going to have to relive that Michigan State game; Indiana probably hasn’t forgotten ten years ago; Iowa sufficiently thumped Maryland just two seasons ago in the NIT.
Let’s go ahead and choose our preseason top five games, because we’ve got time.
5.) Jan. 29: Maryland at Ohio State
The Terrapins get their chance to make up for the embarrassment Ohio State served them in Columbus last season when they were thumped 76-60 last December. That was a nationally televised game intended to show off that Maryland could hang with Big Ten powers, and instead their battleship was sunk badly. In retrospect, a road game against the #5 team in the country should have been a pretty obvious loss, but it was embarrassing nonetheless.
The game is going to feature tons of talent; D’Angelo Russell and Melo Trimble are both All-American freshmen, and Dion Wiley is pretty familiar with Russell as well. These two teams could well represent the future powers of the Big Ten, so this should certainly be one to watch.
4.) Feb. 24: Wisconsin at Maryland
Wisconsin, a team that has aspirations of finally making it to a national title game after bowing out to Kentucky by one point in the Final Four last year, is terrifyingly talented. It’s why every fan should consider it a treat when these guys head to Maryland. They’re an upperclassmen laden squad that has plenty of experience in their leader Fran Kaminsky (has been to a Final Four and a Sweet 16 during his time in Madison) and Josh Gasser, and will give Maryland fits.
But all that said, the Terps might have just as much talent as the Badgers, though they’re considerably younger. We saw how youth won out when Kentucky bounced them from the tournament last year, and we’re going to be left wondering if a team like Maryland, which will be playing a lot of young guys, can do the same thing.
3.) January 22 and February 10: Indiana vs Maryland
The Indiana Hoosiers may have Maryland beaten 5-to-1 in national championships, but the Terps denied them on the biggest stage possible in 2002 for their only natty. Hoosiers fans definitely didn’t forget about it in 2009 when they beat Maryland 80-68 at Assembly Hall during the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, and they’re not about to let Maryland off the hook again. For fans, it should be an incredibly euphoric experience.
More than that, though, it should be a winnable game for the Terps. Indiana still has plenty of talent coming in (an All-American and probably the best shooter in the country in Justin Blackmon should help), but so does Maryland. Given that both teams had massive amounts of transfers this offseason following disappointing seasons, these two programs have a lot to prove against one another.
2.) Dec. 3: Virginia at Maryland
This one doesn’t need a ton of introduction and it’s significant for plenty of obvious reasons. A border battle? Check. A former ‘rival’ from a different conference? Check. Years of past history? Check. Upset victory to end the season? Yup. It’s funny, but now that Maryland is on the other side of the aisle in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, Virginia feels more like a rival than ever before. They’re a familiar foe, and one that the Terps have always felt they should beat.
The Cavs had a good run to the tournament last year and you have to give Coach Tony Bennett a lot of credit for that. Still, Coach Turgeon has held serve against him and could widen that lead with a win. It’s certainly going to be an odd feeling playing Virginia in a non-conference game, but now they’re not on Maryland’s team anymore in the challenge.
1.) Dec. 30, January 17: Michigan State vs Maryland
One of the more crushing losses in Maryland basketball history, the millennial generation isn’t likely to have forgotten about the 2010 buzzer beater by you-know-who in the round of 32. It sent Michigan State to a Sweet 16 berth and an eventual national championship, while it sent the Terps home packing for good; Maryland hasn’t made a tournament since. It’s painful to even think about, and we’d dare not test the turtle gods by showing a YouTube clip of it.
Maryland’s going to be well equipped to compete against Tom Izzo, and now Coach Turgeon gets his chance to right the past. Want to know how to win over a whole bunch of your fan base in one fell swoop? Take down Michigan State. As Forrest Gump would say, “That’s all I gots to say about that.”