The Maryland Terrapins have accepted a bid to the National Invitational Tournament and will open up play on Tuesday night at the Comcast Center as a #2 seed in the Alabama Quadrant against the Niagara Purple Eagles on ESPN2. The Purple Eagles won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular season before being ousted by eventual MAAC Tournament champion Iona. As the regular season champion Niagara earned an automatic bid to the NIT and will put their 19-13 record on the line against the Terrapins tomorrow evening at the Comcast Center.
The full NIT bracket can be found here and as you can see the Terrapins are matched up with the winner of the 3/6 game between Denver and Ohio. Should the Terrapins take care of business against Niagara tomorrow night the winner of that Denver vs Ohio match up would then travel to College Park, presumably for a Thursday game, in the NIT’s round of 16. As the #2 seed in order to get to the semifinals in New York City the Terrapins could potentially have to travel to Tuscaloosa, Alabama for a tilt against Anthony Grant’s Crimson Tide for the right to advance to Madison Square Garden.
The NIT wasn’t what fans, coaches and players alike were hoping for at the end of the 2012-2013 regular season however this tournament presents the Terrapins the opportunity to continue to play more games. With a roster consisting of as much youth as this Maryland one as currently constructed the chance to play in meaningful games despite the tournament setting is worthwhile.
The chance to play for a title in the “Mecca of basketball” is a great opportunity for this team to continue to grow and build some momentum heading into the off-season. We will have a full preview of the Terps NIT opener against Niagara tomorrow. Let me leave you with this; there are only a handful of teams that can say they will head into the offseason coming off a win, the Terrapins still have a chance to make that claim with a successful run through the NIT.