So Maryland fans, how about that NIT? Excited?
We won't be spending a lot of time dwelling on the National Invitation Tournament, just some details. The NIT turns 70 this year. It was founded in 1938 and in its first year included just six teams. Temple University won the tournament. Today, there are 32 teams. Games are played on campuses of higher-seeded teams until the semifinals, when it moves to Madison Square Garden.
Maryland is a No. 5 seed and plays its first game against Minnesota, a No. 4 seed, tonight. Other ACC teams in the field are Virginia Tech and Florida State. The Hokies may be playing with a chip on their shoulders since they're one of the debatable exclusions from the NCAA Tournament, another being Arizona State. Virginia Tech and ASU are No. 1 seeds in the NIT, along with Ohio State and Syracuse. Morgan State, which saw its own NCAA Tournament spot slip to Coppin State in the MEAC tournament championship game, plays in the first round against Virginia Tech.
Another notable in the NIT field is two-time defending national champion Florida, which struggled over the last month losing eight of 11. My personal favorite in the field, only because of their flamboyant nickname, the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos.
And for the ever-popular NIT office pool, here's a printable version of the NIT bracket, click on the image below.