The Maryland men’s basketball team will play Division II Wingate on Friday at noon, the school announced Wednesday evening. The Terrapins added this matchup on short notice after their home game against Nebraska, previously scheduled for Saturday, was postponed because of coronavirus cases in the Cornhuskers’ program.
“When our game with Nebraska was postponed, we were concerned about the length of time between games,” Coach Mark Turgeon said in a statement. “The most important thing to our team right now is maintaining our rhythm and building depth as we prepare for our final stretch of Big Ten games and push for the postseason. I want to thank Wingate for adding us to their schedule on such short notice.”
The Terps’ win over Illinois ended a stretch of six Big Ten games in about two weeks, with only two or three days separating each matchup. During that span, Maryland faced four teams currently ranked in the top 15 of the AP poll. The Terps beat Wisconsin, now ranked ninth in the nation, in addition to their win over the Illini.
Starting point guard Eric Ayala, who leads the team with 14 points per game, could not play against Illinois because of a groin injury. The lull in the schedule should give him time to recover before Maryland finishes its Big Ten schedule.
Despite a disappointing start in conference play, Maryland (7-6, 2-5 Big Ten) is No. 38 in the NCAA’s NET rankings. Playing against a Division II opponent will not negatively affect Maryland’s NET ranking, while a game against a lower-tier Division I team could have.
Maryland and Nebraska are working to find a date to reschedule the postponed game, which was the first time this year the Terps’ conference schedule was disrupted. However, earlier this season, Maryland had multiple adjustments to its nonconference schedule.
Games against Monmouth, Towson, James Madison and George Mason were all canceled because of coronavirus cases in those programs. Each time, Maryland attempted to find a new opponent, but the Terps ultimately only played six nonconference games after planning to play seven. The game against Wingate will give the Terps a seventh nonconference game.