Maryland's basketball schedule is out, and Terrapins blog Testudo Times sees a few "really critical stretches" for what they hope will be a bubble team.
Maryland is far from a lock for the NCAA with a squad filled with freshmen -- talented freshmen, but freshmen nonetheless. They'll ease into the conference schedule with a pair of home games and then a trip to Miami, which Testudo Times sees as a good start:
First: starting off with Virginia Tech! And at home at that. There's a good chance the Hokies will be pretty bad this year, so getting them to start things off (before they've gelled, hopefully) is a nice introduction to ACC play for a freshman-heavy team. Then things ramp up with Florida State, but at least it's a home game, so again, the freshman aren't jumping off the deep end here. A nice, steady introduction to a rough league. And hell, their first road game is at Miami. The 'Canes should be half-decent this year, but it's hardly a home-court advantage there. If I could pick any first ACC road trip for the young guns, this would probably be it. (Actually, it'd be BC, but hey, I'll take this.) And then things ramp up again with the first elite conference opponent of the season - N.C. State - but even that's at home.
Things obviously get a little bit rougher in the middle of the schedule:
While I'm relatively happy with the first few games and think Maryland could surprise some people there, six of the first eight in total are against likely NCAA tournament teams, including road trips to UNC, Duke, and Florida State. Things could go downhill quick once you get to the meat of the schedule.
Of course, the order of play doesn't really matter so much for the Terps: if they're a good team, they'll be a good team, if not, they'll be sitting home come tourney time instead of dancing.