With the 2013-2014 Maryland basketball season coming to a close, fans have already begun to turn their attention to next season. Coach Mark Turgeon and his staff have done a phenomenal job on the recruiting trail with the #10 recruiting class signed for next season (247 Sports), which includes Maryland’s first McDonald’s All-American in a decade (Romelo Trimble). While this season hasn’t gone according to plan, recent results have fans encouraged for a big 2014/2015 season.
As has been normal for the Big Ten league office now, they have released the home and away opponents for next year’s basketball season. This will be Maryland’s first year in the Big Ten, and many had been nervous about the opponents coming to College Park and how the fan base would react. It’s fair to say that after the Big Ten released the upcoming opponents, the Maryland fan base was overjoyed and excited about the teams coming to the Comcast Center.
As of February 28, the top three teams in the Big Ten standings, and three teams currently ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 will be playing at the Comcast Center. For fans who are interested in seeing the Terrapins play on the road, there will be chances to see Maryland play at some of the top college basketball venues in the country next season.
Here is a quick and really early breakdown of the nine teams that Maryland will face next season at the Comcast Center:
Big Ten Elites
Michigan – The Wolverines are currently in first place in the Big Ten, and that is without their second best player (Mitch McGary). Next season, Michigan will be returning arguably the preseason pick for Big Ten Player of the Year (Nik Stauskas) and two other double digit scorers (Caris LeVert and Glenn Robinson III). With Mitch McGary coming back from injury, it’s safe to say that Michigan will be amongst the favorites for the Big Ten title.
Michigan State – The Spartans will be losing quite a lot of talent from this year’s team. However that has never stopped coach Tom Izzo from having a competitive team. Branden Dawson and Denzel Valentine will be the top returning players, barring one of their guards skipping the NBA for extra year of school.
Wisconsin – Bo Ryan has built this year’s Wisconsin’s team into one of the nation’s toughest teams to prepare for. Wisconsin can beat you in low scoring or high scoring games. Next year, their swing offense will feature a 7 footer, Frank Kaminsky, who currently shoots 39.1% from three, and senior point guard Traevon Jackson.
On The Rise
Indiana – Currently the Hoosiers have the 18th best recruiting class signed for next season. They will be joining forces with one of the Big Ten’s leading scorers, Yogi Ferrell (17.6 ppg) and Maryland native Stanford Robsinson. Indiana could also be returning one of the nation’s top sophomore’s and second leading scorer on the team, Noah Vonleh. With Tom Crean on the bench, Indiana should be a team in the upper half of the Big Ten next season.
Nebraska – The Huskers have been a surprise team this season in the Big Ten, as they are currently tied for fifth with Iowa in the conference standings. Next year they will be returning two dynamic scorers Terran Petteway (18.2 ppg) and Shavon Shields (11.9 ppg). Along with both of those players, Nebraska will have a lot of experience on their roster. This year they have wins against Ohio State and at Michigan State along with close loses to Michigan and Iowa.
Northwestern – This is the Wildcats first season under Chris Collins, and they are currently in a four way tie for last place in the Big Ten. While the 5-10 record may not looking promising, Northwestern has gone on the road and knocked off #14 Wisconsin, Indiana, and Minnesota, while also beating #23 Illinois at home. They currently have the #37 ranked recruiting class in the nation coming in next season.
Minnesota – Rick Pitino’s son, Richard, is in his first season at Minnesota and so far it has been an up and down ride for the young head coach. The Gophers have wins over #11 Ohio State and #9 Wisconsin, but they also have heartbreaking losses to #5 Michigan State (Overtime), at Purdue (triple overtime), and at #21 Wisconsin (by 8).
Rutgers - After a scandal ridden offseason, Rutgers brought in new coach Eddie Jordan. Rutgers is still playing in the American Athletic Conference this season, and has a 4-11 record. Their recruiting class isn’t ranked in the 247 Sports Top 50, but with their two top scorers (Kadeem Jack and Myles Mack) returning next season the Scarlet Knights shouldn’t be taken as an easy opponent.
Last But Not Least
Penn State – Coach Pat Chambers is currently in his third year at one of the toughest jobs in the Big Ten. Penn State hoops hasn’t been anything to write home about recently, but the former Boston University coach is hoping to change that. The Nittany Lions swept Ohio State this season, and beat St. John’s earlier in the year. They are also in the current four way tie for last place in the conference, which means that they aren’t the worst!
Next season will be an exciting year for Maryland athletics. Basketball in particular will have one of the most talented teams Maryland fans have seen in years, and fans will be get to see their Terrapins play some of the top teams in the country. Needless to say, next season Maryland will have plenty of opportunities to show that they can run with the big boys in the Big Ten.