There's been much debate about whether this is a rebuilding year for the Maryland men's basketball team, or whether Mark Turgeon will just have some retooling to do as he replaces four starters from last season's 27-9 team.
At least one national writer doesn't believe the young Terps will be in the top tier of the Big Ten this season.
Joe Lunardi of ESPN released his first projected bracket Thursday, and had Maryland as a No. 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Maryland is one of seven Big Ten teams Lunardi has in the field.
Lunardi has Michigan State and Wisconsin both projected to be No. 3 seeds, with Purdue and Indiana as four seeds. There's a significant drop after that, with Maryland as a No. 9, Ohio State as a No. 10 and Michigan as a No. 11.
Over the summer, Lunardi had projected the Terps to be a No. 6 seed.
Maryland's Big Ten schedule is heavy on playing only home games against the top teams in the league – Indiana, Purdue and Michigan State – while the two one-and-done road games are against Wisconsin and Michigan.
The only non-conference games the Terps will play against teams in Lunardi's latest projected field are against Georgetown (a projected 11-seed) and Howard (a 16-seed in a play-in game). Howard is picked as the projected winner of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.