So, we were snubbed by the NCAAT selection committee; it's not the end of the world. In fact, the argument could be made that playing in the NIT is better for this UMD team.
Yes, we beat Duke twice, and those were great wins, no doubt. But we lost two games to FSU and UVA. In the NIT, we may have an opportunity to avenge those losses, as both of those teams will almost certainly be in the field. But, even if we don't see either of those two teams, the NIT affords us an opportunity to do something the NCAA tournament probably wouldn't.
Had we been invited to the dance, we would have been the underdog in the first round - UNC and NCST wound up as 8-seeds; we would have been a 12-seed at best - and even playing a great game, a first-round loss wouldn't have been a surprise. In the NIT, as a 1 or 2 seed, we'll be favored against still-decent competition.
What this team needs now is a validation of their abilities. Winning three or four more games, and having a chance to win the tournament, would work wonders for this team's confidence. And carrying some confidence into next season will be huge for this team.
Getting used to winning against good competition is what this team was never able to do this year. They were never able to get on a winning streak in conference play. Getting a few good wins in the NIT will do them much more good psychologically than losing in the first - or even the second – round of the NCAAs.
They’ll have the opportunity – and they have the confidence - to string together a few wins in the NIT, gain some confidence, and to learn how to win consistently. Winning it would work wonders.
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