In 2011, Maryland finished the season 19-14—a respectable showing in the competitive ACC. After dropping their third contest of the year to Duke in the ACC Tournament, the Terps postseason hopes rested in the hands of the NCAA and NIT selection committees.
The NCAA released its field of 68 teams, but Maryland was nowhere to be found. A similar story ensued hours later when the NIT's field of 32 showed no signs of the Terps.
This year, Maryland finds itself sitting at a mediocre 15-11 after starting the year with a promising 12-4 mark. Barring an incredibly strong finish to the regular season and a deep run in the ACC tournament—Maryland may be faced with a similar situation as last year.
If the only postseason option for the Terps is the CBI, will they decline the bid again?
Before we answer that question, let it be known that the NIT is still not out of the picture and some feel as if the Terps would be in the field of 32—if the season ended today.
But, three of Maryland's final four regular-season matchups are against teams with an above .500 record in conference play. This includes a date with the No. 7 North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
What this means is that the Terps' road to one of the two-major postseason tournaments is a difficult one.
The CBI, however, is still a viable option.
Which brings us back to the question: Will the Terps decline the CBI bid again if the situation presented itself?
In short, the answer is no.
Last year, Williams was noticeably upset that his team narrowly missed out on a bid to the NIT. The longtime head coach even stated: "After 19 wins and beating Penn State, Florida State and Clemson, it’s disappointing that we’re not at least in the NIT".
Williams had a right to be disappointed. He felt snubbed, as if his team's resume warranted more than a bid to college basketball's back-up tournament.
This year though, the Terps' body of work is not nearly as impressive. An early season win over Notre Dame is the highlight of an otherwise lackluster out-of-conference slate. Maryland won 10 games prior to ACC play, but only three of them, including the Notre Dame win—came against teams with a record above .500 (Colorado & Albany).
Whereas last year, Maryland was hoping for a NCAA berth or at the very least—a NIT berth. The expectations are much lower this year.
First year head coach Mark Turgeon is the leader of a young team, and experience in the postseason—even if it is in the CBI—will only benefit his players.
Maryland may have opted out of a postseason opportunity last year, but if the situation presents itself again—don't expect a similar outcome.
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