The Maryland men's basketball team will open Big Ten play this season in December against Penn State and will take on Illinois at Madison Square Garden in New York on Jan. 26, among the highlights of a longer, more spread-out schedule released in full Tuesday.
The Big Ten has expanded to a 20-game conference schedule for each member, and for the second straight season that lineup will begin with two games in December. The Terps will face the Nittany Lions in College Park on Dec. 1 and are scheduled for an early-season rematch against Purdue in West Lafayette, Indiana, on Dec. 6.
The pair of early-season conference matchups interrupts Maryland's nonconference schedule. The Terps open the year with seven games against teams outside the Big Ten, concluding the stretch against former ACC rival Virginia, before facing Penn State. Then comes four more nonconference matchups before Big Ten play resumes in January.
To hold last season's Big Ten tournament at Madison Square Garden, every team's conference schedule was compressed and finished earlier than usual. For the Terps, this meant playing 16 Big Ten games in a span of 54 days.
With this year's tournament at United Center in Chicago, Illinois, from March 13 to 17, teams are allotted more time between tilts. Maryland will have 18 conference games spread over a 66-day period.
The Terps played Big Ten games with less than two days' rest on three occasions last season, going a combined 4-2 in those contests. This year, Maryland has at least two days between every conference matchup.
After facing Nebraska at Xfinity Center on Jan. 2, the Terps will play Rutgers and Minnesota on the road before a two-game homestand against Indiana and Wisconsin. The Terps then travel to Ohio State and Michigan State before Jan. 26's tilt against Illinois at Madison Square Garden, which will count as one of Maryland's 10 conference home games.
Maryland will have a brief encounter in College Park with Northwestern on Jan. 29, then travel to Wisconsin on Feb. 1 and Nebraska on Feb. 6. The Terps will get a second shot at the Boilermakers on Feb. 12 in College Park before traveling to Michigan and Iowa.
Coach Mark Turgeon's squad will play three of its final four regular-season games at home, starting with Ohio State on Feb. 23. After a trip to University Park on Feb. 27, the Terps play Michigan and Minnesota at Xfinity Center to close the regular season.
Maryland finished 19-13 last year but went 8-10 in conference play before a first-round exit in the Big Ten tournament. That left the Terps shut out of the NCAA tournament and National Invitational Tournament for the first time since joining the Big Ten.