NIT Tourney 2011: Several Big Name Schools Excluded from the Field
NIT Tourney 2011 Leaves Out Maryland And Baylor Among Other Big Name Schools
Let's be honest, it's somewhat odd to be heading into postseason basketball in the college ranks and not see the Maryland Terrapins anywhere.
Gary Williams and company have become a fixture of either the NCAA Tournament or at worst the NIT. But after a disappointing season where one of the few highlights was a dominating win at NCAA Tournament-bound Penn State, the Terrapins missed the NCAA Tournament and were passed over for the NIT. According to the Washington Post, it's the first time since 1993 that the Terps missed both the NCAA and NIT field
But Maryland was just one of a few high-profile teams that missed out on postseason basketball. The most notable absence is the Baylor Bears, who went from an Elite Eight team with two high-profile Draft prospects to missing both tournaments, declining an invite from the CBI and losing the services of both players according to Andy Katz of ESPN.com.
The fall of Baylor was indicative of a college basketball season that has been less than stellar, according to most around the sport. We've already seen and heard ad nauseam about the host of 13 and 14-loss teams that made the NCAA Tournament. The term "weak bubble" got tossed around more on ESPN's selection day special then RPI, SOS (strength of schedule) and VCU.
Arkansas and Mississippi State aren't exactly powerhouse programs now (although the Razorbacks were back in the day with Nolan Richardson, and they're two of the other schools Katz mentioned as missing out on the NIT.
The way this college season has gone, it shouldn't be surprising that it ended this way. The sport has become so intertwined and dependent on those one and done prospects that it's hard to keep teams together. So all of a sudden a dominant team one year slips into mediocrity the next. Obviously it doesn't seem to happen to schools like Duke and Kansas, but those smaller programs go from year to year.
In the end, the teams that missed out on this year's fun shouldn't fret. Relevance is always just one Letter of Intent away.
For more March Madness: Bleacher Report's March Madness page, where you can find a printable bracket and a guest column by Northern Colorado coach B.J. Hill
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