The Maryland basketball team is coming off a season in which they won a pair of NCAA Tournament games.
On Monday afternoon, the Terrapins found what who they would face during the Big Ten portion of their 2016-17 schedule.
Maryland will face Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio State, and Rutgers at home and on the road.
The home slate will consist of Indiana, Michigan State, Nebraska, and Purdue. The Terps will travel for matchups with Michigan, Northwestern, Penn State, and Wisconsin.
This comes after a season in which Maryland finished with a 12-6 mark during Big Ten play and finished in third place behind Indiana and Michigan State.
At first glance, it’s a very manageable conference schedule for Maryland.
Of the opponents that the Terps face twice, only Iowa and Ohio State finished with a winning record.
The Hawkeyes went 22-11 (12-6) and beat No. 7 seed Temple in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament. In the only meeting last season, Maryland edged then-ranked No. 3 Iowa 74-68 on Jan. 28 in College Park.
On the other hand, the Buckeyes compiled a 21-14 (11-7) record and beat Akron in the First Round of the NIT. Maryland faced Ohio State twice during the 2015-16 season and came away victorious on both occasions.
The Terps slaughtered the Buckeyes 100-65 at home on Jan. 16, but were given much more of a fight in their Jan. 31 meeting, which was a 66-61 win.
When you look at the five teams that Maryland will face at home and away, it’s hard not to like their chances to win at least seven or eight of those games if not more. The toughest teams will obviously be Iowa and Ohio State and it most likely won’t even be close.
Ohio State returns the entire starting lineup and all have plenty of experience. The Buckeyes are a well-rounded team, but lack that elite star that the program has had in past years.
Iowa is the complete opposite as they are losing four of their top five leading scorers from a season ago. Guard Peter Jok threw his name into the NBA Draft pool, but elected to return for his senior season.
Jok averaged 16.1 points and 3.5 rebounds and was the second leading scorer beyond Jarrod Uthoff last year. Those numbers stand to increase with Jok being the main attraction for the Hawkeyes this coming season.
The home slate is very different. Maryland will be hosting their most high-profile opponents in Indiana, Michigan State, and Purdue.
The Terps went 3-4 against Indiana, Michigan State, Nebraska, and Purdue during the 2015-16 campaign. Two of the wins came against Nebraska in addition to one against Purdue on Feb. 6.
Maryland fell to Indiana in the regular season finale and lost to Michigan State again in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals.
While that’s certainly worrisome, it’s also comforting to know that Maryland will be facing these prolific programs inside the friendly confines of the Xfinity Center. During the 2015-16 season, the Terps compiled a 16-1 record at home and won their first 14 home games before falling to Wisconsin on Feb. 13.
One of the biggest thorns in Maryland’s side over the past two seasons has been Indiana. The Hoosiers have won two of the last three meetings against the Terps.
Maryland’s away slate is relatively easy with Wisconsin being the only team that defeated the Terps last season.
The Badgers could pose a significant threat to the Terps as they return do-it-all Nigel Hayes among others. Hayes averaged 15.7 points and 5.8 rebounds during his junior season and even contemplated a jump to the NBA afterwards.
Hayes decided to return to Madison and the Badgers could be lethal because of it. Along with Hayes, Ethan Happ and Bronson Koenig also were double-figure scorers and could have Wisconsin ready to make some noise in the second year under coach Greg Gard.
All in all, Maryland looks to be in a prime position to be one of the elite teams in the Big Ten next season.
Getting guard Melo Trimble back for another year was the start of everything for the Terps in the offseason, Shortly after, four-star and former UNLV signee Justin Jackson committed to Maryland. A few weeks prior, Duquesne transfer L.G. Gill announced his transfer to Maryland after a productive career in the Atlantic 10.
It also doesn’t hurt that the Terps have a pair of four-star guards entering their backcourt in Anthony Cowan and Kevin Huerter. Huerter is drawing rave reviews as he tries to make the U18 USA roster out in Colorado.
Maryland could certainly win the Big Ten and that’s quite interesting given the fact that this season was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Terps. If the freshmen produce as advertised, this could easily be one of the top teams around.