The Maryland Terrapins have high hopes for this upcoming season. A strong freshman class that includes Jake Layman, Shaquille Cleare, and Seth Allen, join returning starters Nick Faust and big-man Alex Len to create one of the more promising young Terps teams in recent memory. Head coach Mark Turgeon certainly has College Park excited for the upcoming basketball season. The Terps have an opportunity to make a lot of noise early on against some very noteworthy opponents. Here are two games that the Terps play early on the season that can set the tone for the rest of the year.
1. November 9th against Kentucky
No one expects much from Maryland going against the reigning national champion Wildcats in a neutral site to kick of the season. That being said, an upset is certainly not out of the question. John Calipari always puts together a contender out of solid core of young players, this year including top recruit Nerlens Noel. While Maryland will struggle matching Kentucky’s raw talent, the Terps definitely have a solid group of young talent that can play with the best of them.
Win or lose, Maryland will walk away from this game with a strong idea of what they need to improve on and how they can make whatever changes necessary to continue their season. It will be a huge test for Maryland’s youth to play on a big stage against a perennial powerhouse. Another interesting twist in this game is the fact that the Harrison twins narrowed their choice to either Maryland or Kentucky, and by the time this game rolls around, they will have announced their decision, causing one of these two teams to play with an inevitable chip on their shoulder.
2. November 27th at Northwestern
This Big-10 challenge game puts Maryland up against a solid, but beatable opponent in the Northwestern Wildcats. The Wildcats were a solid bubble team last year that just fell short of making the tournament. If Maryland came win this game, against a formidable Big-10 opponent it would give this young Maryland team a huge confidence boost going into conference play. Playing in Evanston will be the most hostile environment that the young Terps will have seen by that point, so it will be a fantastic experience for the Terps. Winning this game would prove to the college hoops world that the Terps are a legitimate team this year, and can win big games when they matter.
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