One of the Maryland men’s basketball team’s highest profile non-conference games for the upcoming season will no longer take place, as a scheduling issue has caused the Terrapins to delay their participation in the Jimmy V Classic until 2016.
Maryland, coming off its second 17-15 season under Coach Mark Turgeon and handling a sizable roster overhaul following five transfers, was initially supposed to play Villanova on Dec. 9 at Madison Square Garden. The Wildcats went 29-5 last season and were a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament but lost to the Terrapins during a private scrimmage at Comcast Center.
Worst-case scenario, the Terps would have lost a neutral-site game to a top-20 team, which would not have damaged their RPI much. Best-case scenario would have been the type of signature non-conference win that has eluded them in three NCAA tournament-less seasons under Turgeon.
Now, one of their strongest non-conference games is gone from the docket, though sources indicated the team isn’t concerned about filling the void. They are currently scheduled to face former ACC rival Virginia in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and two of Alabama, Iowa State and Arizona State at the 2014 CBE Classic in Kansas City on Nov. 24 and 25. The rest of their non-conference schedule has not been announced, though no more major-conference teams are expected to be included. The schedule is also expected to include zero true road games and only those two Kansas City neutral-site games.
Illinois replaces Maryland in the Jimmy V Classic and will meet Villanova, with Indiana-Louisville still serving as the other game. This season, the Terps welcome a top-10 recruiting class (Michal Cekovsky, Jared Nickens, Trayvon Reed, Melo Trimble and Dion Wiley) as well as fifth-year graduate transfer Richaud Pack. They are simultaneously the oldest team (four scholarship seniors, all transfers) and youngest (five freshmen) that Turgeon has coached in College Park.