ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 12: Trevor Releford #12 and Charvez Davis #24 of the Alabama Crimson Tide walk off of the court dejected after loosing to the Kentucky Wildcats 58 to 72 during the semifinals of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at Georgia Dome on March 12, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
We've known the field for the Puerto Rico Tip-Off - Maryland basketball's preseason tournament this year - for months now, but we had no idea who the Terrapins were going to play. The full bracket was released earlier this morning, and that question has been answered: the Terps will play Alabama in the first round on November 17 at 5:00pm.
The full bracket for the Tip-Off is here. Depending on their result, they'll play either Wichita St. - one of Mark Turgeon's old homes, interestingly enough - or Colorado in the second round. (And yes, those three teams made up 3/4 of last year's NIT semi-finals.) Purdue (featuring Robbie Hummel!), Temple, Western Michigan, and Iona lay on the other side of the bracket.
Given that they'll play a guaranteed three games no matter what, the "draw" doesn't matter too terribly much here past SOS reasons. Grabbing any win would be nice, though it'd be especially nice if it came against Alabama or, to a lesser extent, Wichita St. You may remember Alabama's huge run through the SEC last year, nearly getting them into the NCAA tournament, and they'll probably be as good next year. Their top three players from last year return - JaMychal Green, Tony Mitchell, and Trevor Releford - so they return a wealth of experience even though their next three have graduated.
Wichita St. actually met Alabama in the NIT finals last year, taking home the title. Leading scorer and rebounder J.T. Durley graduated, but the Shockers return 6-5 shooting guard Toure' Murry along with two other starters from the title team.
Colorado was the team that Alabama toppled in the NIT semis. They lost superstar Alec Burks to the NBA Draft, along with three other starters. Only Andre Roberson, a 6-7 freshman who averaged 6.7 ppg last year, returns. (They also have a player on the team named Shannon Sharpe.) And with that, I have confidence that Maryland can probably get at least one win out of the tournament.