Well, as expected, the dream is over: the Maryland Terrapins were left out of the 2013 NCAA Tournament when it was announced earlier this evening, as their late-season charge back to the bubble proved too little for the committee to overlook their poor strength-of-schedule and conference performance. Disappointing, but it's tough to be surprised or even particularly upset.
After all, the Terps were hardly a snub. The hope was always that someone in the committee would take a liking to their profile and fight for them to get in; like I said, just give them an excuse to put them in. The Terrapins didn't force the committee's hand and secure a bid, and so were largely a toss-up with a few other bubble teams. While it's frustrating in the sense that arguments could be made that Maryland was a worthier option than Boise State or Middle Tennessee, none of them were definitive. When you're a bubble-type and don't get such a strong profile that the committee has no choice but to put you in, it's tough to be that upset. There are just too many options.
And so the focus changes now, as the Terps are NIT-bound. It's not the end of the world. And in fact, there's at least a silver lining - far from a bonus, but at least a saving grace: there's the potential for a lot more game time. Look at the way this team just played over the past three games, and if they can replicate that there's not a team in a potential NIT field you'd comfortably pick against them. They have the ability to make a run - and, frankly, given the way they've started to play of late, I just want to keeping watching them play basketball.
The NIT bracket is announced at 9:00 on ESPNU. Maryland's looking like a 1 or at worst 2 seed; if they get on that top line, games would be hosted in the Comcast Center on campus, which would be a nice send-off for a team that's started to gel together. We'll be back then; in the meanwhile, use this as an open thread for both NCAAT venting and NIT bracket-ing.