The Washington Times - August 25, 2009, 07:03PM

Because Maryland fans have been scouring RPIs and strength of schedules for six Marches running, it’s fair to look at some of the components of that data now that the Terrapins’ schedule is out.

Obviously, a strong conference schedule somewhat alleviates the nonconference issue. But it doesn’t entirely make it disappear.

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So, what are the Terps up to in the nonconference? Take a peek (#-potential opponent; all data courtesy of collegerpi.com):

Opponent 08-09 Record
08-09 RPI
vs. Villanova
30-8 13
#vs. Gonzaga
28-6 26
#vs. Wisconsin
20-13 45
#vs. Arizona
21-14 62
#vs. Cincinnati
18-14 84
Fairfield 17-15 94
#vs. Vanderbilt
19-12 95
Eastern Kentucky
18-13 173
New Hampshire
14-16 201
at Indiana
6-25 216
#vs. Colorado
9-22 235
William & Mary
10-20 245
Longwood 17-14 294
Florida Atlantic
6-26 313
at UNC Greensboro
5-25 316
Charleston Southern
9-20 324
Winston-Salem St.
8-22 327
at Chaminade
15-12 NA

Basically, Maryland will play four top-100 teams from last season in its 14 nonconference games – barring a surprising meeting with Colorado.

The Terps will play just as many teams from the bottom 30 – basically, the bottom 10 percent – of Division I, plus a Division II team.

The RPI game is won not playing either of those groups so much as it is by playing teams between 100 and 200. And based on last year’s numbers, Maryland won’t be doing that much at all.

In fairness, Indiana will be better this year, and New Hampshire is just outside that range. But there are some bad teams at the bottom of that list, with only marginal hope of improving.

Clearly, the conference schedule will make or break Maryland. But it would be rather surprising if the Terps are any worse than 11-3 when ACC play begins – and they’d be well-served to be better than that.

Patrick Stevens