Well, this is certainly a position Maryland fans didn't want to find themselves in when this season tipped off November. Another March Madness that features the Terps competing in the NIT instead of the NCAAs. We'll dive more into how Maryland reached this point once the season officially wraps up. For now, we take a look at where Maryland currently stands in the NIT field.
In what will come as a shock to no one, Maryland is on the outside looking in when it comes to the NCAA tournament. Had they been able to make a run in the ACC tournament and made it to the championship game, there is a slight chance they could have been a bubble team. But their heartbreaking loss to Florida State took care of those hopes and dreams with a last second slam dunk. So where does Maryland stand when it comes to the NIT?
Currently, the leading NIT prediction blog, The NIT Bracket Project, pegs Maryland as a five seed in the NIT. If Maryland were to be a five seed or lower, that would mean going on the road for their games, rather than hosting games in College Park. Honestly, that could almost be a blessing in disguise as a home game would probably not draw too many fans to the Comcast Center. I suggested that if Maryland were to host a home, they consider using Cole Field House, but planning for that logistically on such short notice might not be possible.
If the current projections hold, the Terps would match up with Marquette in the first round of the NIT, traveling to Milwaukee to take on the Big East School. The Golden Eagles finished the season with a 17-15 record, losing Thursday to Xavier in the Big East tournament. They are the 60th best team nationally, according to KenPom.
If Maryland stayed in the four or five seed range, some of the other teams projected to receive similar seeds include:
West Virginia - The Mountaineers finished the year with a 17-15 record, losing to Texas in the Big 12 conference tournament. They are currently ranked as the 64th best team according to KenPom.
LSU - The Tigers finished with a 19-13 record, losing to Kentucky on Friday in the SEC tournament. They are currently ranked as the 68th best team according to KenPom.
Georgia - The Bulldogs are still playing in the SEC Tournament, having defeated Old Miss yesterday, so they're still improving their resume and will take on Kentucky today. They're currently 19-12 and KenPom has them as the 69th best team.
N.C. State - The Wolfpack picked up a huge win over Syracuse on Friday and will take on Duke today in the ACC tournament. They could not only be playing their way into a better NIT seed, but into the NCAA tournament as well. They take on Duke today and after their win last night over the Orange on Friday, rank 66th according to KenPom.
One thing to remember about the NIT is that automatic bids are now handed out to any team who were the regular season conference champions but failed to receive an NCAA Tournament bid. After Maryland's win over Virginia, that probably won't factor too much into Maryland at this point, since they're solidly in the field, but it could impact seedings, etc.
I know no one is really excited about the NIT, but one positive that could come out of participating in the event would be a match up with Georgetown. The Hoyas are projected as a three seed in the NIT, following an early exit from the Big East Tournament. A game against Georgetown would certainly bring some intrigue to Maryland's participation in the event, but certainly doesn't make up for the fact that the Terps are again on the outside looking in when it comes to dancing in March.