The Big Ten announced its conference schedule Wednesday, with Maryland men’s basketball poised to play 20 games in 83 days.
Despite the effect that COVID-19 has had on other sports, the schedule appears to be relatively aligned with a regular slate. The Terps will have home and away matchups, playing every team at least once. Though the conference announced that basketball would follow “the same medical protocols that were developed by the Big Ten Return to Competition Task Force and announced on Sept. 16, 2020,” it has announced no further modifications to protocol — despite a packed slate.
Maryland begins the defense of its share of the Big Ten regular-season title with a home matchup against Rutgers on Dec. 14. Fixtures come thick and fast in the weeks following: Mark Turgeon’s squad takes on three opponents in seven days, headlined by a Christmas Day face-off with Purdue and a New Years’ Eve contest against Michigan.
The games continue to pile up in 2021, with Maryland set to play Indiana (Jan. 4), Iowa (Jan. 7) and Illinois (Jan. 10) within a short window, before a five-day reprieve. After that, the Terps have another three-game stretch, facing Nebraska, Minnesota and Michigan.
But there is good news for the Terps’ schedule. They will only take on presumptive conference title favorite Illinois once; the same goes for also highly touted Iowa.
The Terps announced their condensed nonconference schedule on Monday, a seven-game slate highlighted by an ACC-Big Ten road clash with Clemson on Dec. 9.
But it remains to be seen how Maryland will react to its spate of conference games, particularly as the team is set to travel across the country to take on programs amid a pandemic.
Turgeon’s squad is cognizant of the effects COVID-19 can have, as well — multiple players tested positive for the virus back in late August and early September, Turgeon said last week. The conference tournament will take place from March 10-14 at the United Center in Chicago, per a release.