It may not be the NCAA Tournament, but the Maryland men’s basketball team is back in the postseason after sitting at home in March the past two seasons.
The Terps earned a No. 2 seed in the NIT and will play Niagara (19-13, 13-5 MAAC) in a first round game on March 19 at 7 p.m. in College Park. It will be the first game Maryland has played in the postseason since 2010 and the first NIT game for the Terps since 2008.
“If we get in the NIT, we think we can compete to win it,” guard Pe’Shon Howard told reporters after losing to North Carolina in the ACC Tournament semifinals Saturday. “Just the fact that we’re playing, we really feel positive about our team.”
Despite the outward positivity from the Terps, the fact that Maryland hasn’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2010 still remains. With their NIT berth, the Terps have now failed to qualify for the NCAA Tournament in six of the last nine seasons after making 11 straight NCAA Tournaments from 1994-2004.
But with such a young team, coach Mark Turgeon is simply looking for more games for his players to gain experience and continue to build off their strong showing in the ACC Tournament. Turgeon also gets a one-time $25,000 bonus for an NIT bid and $10,000 for each round in the tournament, according to a copy of his contract.
“Unfortunately, in today’s world, you get judged on whether you make that tournament or not,” Turgeon said Saturday. “But I’m judging us on where our program was when I took the job and where it is today, where we were two months ago, where we were a month ago and where we are today. That’s really how I’m going to judge it. A month ago, I’m not sure I wanted this season to keep going, these guys were tough to coach. Now I’m having a blast coaching them. I’m having so much fun because they’re listening.”
NOTE: Turgeon will hold a teleconference with the media at 9:35 p.m. More to come later …
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