Maryland gets left out of NIT field

Terps won't play in postseason for first time since 1993

March 13, 2011|By Jeff Barker, The Baltimore Sun

Maryland did not receive a bid Sunday night to play in the National Invitation Tournament, meaning the Terps won't appear in a postseason game for the first time since 1993.

After finishing 19-14 (7-9 Atlantic Coast Conference) and winning their ACC tournament opener, Terps players had expected to receive an invitation to the NIT's 32-team field.

Until deep into the season, the players had harbored hopes of making the NCAA tournament. The NIT was viewed as a consolation prize.

"After 19 wins and beating Penn State, Florida State and Clemson, it's disappointing that we're not at least in the NIT," Maryland coach Gary Williams said in remarks e-mailed to reporters. Penn State, Florida State and Clemson made the 68-team NCAA field.

"We played right with Duke for 35 minutes and got a win in the ACC tournament. It's kind of surprising we weren't selected," Williams said. "We worked very hard to get to where we were with 19 wins this year. We're looking forward to the start of next season."

Maryland made the second round of the NCAA tournament the past two seasons. If Maryland had made the NIT, it would have been the fourth time in the past seven years.

Under Williams, the Terps had a run of 17 straight season of playing in either the NCAA tournament or the NIT. The string included 11 straight NCAA tournament appearances ending in 2003-04.

The last time Maryland did not make the postseason was 1992-93. That was before the Terps had fully emerged from NCAA sanctions Williams inherited when he returned to his alma mater 22 years ago.

The NIT field includes three ACC teams — Virginia Tech, Boston College and Miami. Miami, seeded second in their quarter of the NIT bracket, finished one game behind the Terps in the regular-season standings at 6-10, although the Hurricanes defeated the Terps in their only meeting.

Maryland's last game was an 87-71 loss to Duke on Friday night in the ACC tournament quarterfinals.

Players had been disappointed after losing to Duke for the third time this season. Guard Pe'Shon Howard sat in the locker room with a towel over his head. Howard was among six newcomers on this year's team.

Howard and other players had said they hoped to play another game so that the three seniors — Dino Gregory, Adrian Bowie and Cliff Tucker — could go out on a positive note.

"Whatever we play in, we're looking to win the whole thing," leading scorer Jordan Williams said after the Duke loss.

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