The Washington Times - March 13, 2011, 04:04PM

Projecting an NIT bracket is an interesting task this season, especially with so many teams locked in as regular season conference champs that didn’t win their league tournaments.

There could be as few as 17 at-large spots in the NIT, which makes Maryland (19-14) a dicey proposition entering Sunday night.

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As Jerry Beach of Defiantly Dutch points out, 18 of the 24 at-larges last year went to teams in the major conferences, the Atlantic 10 and the Mountain West.

There will probably be a heavy power conference flavor in the at-large process this time as well, even if the computer numbers favor some mid-major possibilities.

Here’s a best guess – and that’s exactly what it is, a guess: Maryland slips in. Don’t be stunned if the Terrapins don’t

(*-automatic berth)

NORTH

(1) Boston College vs. (8) Florida Atlantic*
(4) Wichita State vs. (5) Mississippi
(3) Harvard vs. (6) Vermont*
(2) New Mexico vs. (7) Fairfield*

EAST

(1) Alabama vs. (8) Bethune-Cookman*
(4) Maryland vs. (5) Cleveland State
(3) Texas-El Paso vs. (6) Wisconsin-Milwaukee*
(2) Oklahoma State vs. (7) Coastal Carolina*

SOUTH

(1) UAB* vs. (8) McNeese State*
(4) Miami vs. (5) Dayton
(3) Colorado State vs. (6) College of Charleston*
(2) Missouri State* vs. (7) Murray State*

WEST

(1) Southern California vs. (8) Texas Southern*
(4) Nebraska vs. (5) California
(3) Washington State vs. (6) Kent State*
(2) Saint Mary’s* vs. (7) Long Beach State*

Patrick Stevens