The Washington Times - March 7, 2011, 11:01AM

There are plenty of pointers to give away to anyone who wants to do an NCAA tournament projection.

There’s just one for those who dare to figure out who teams 69 through 100 are: Don’t.

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Nonetheless, that endeavor was broached this morning, and for those wondering just how comfortably Maryland will secure a high seed in the NIT, it’s probably best not to look.

The Terrapins (18-13) don’t have the profile to make the NCAA tournament as an at-large pick. Everyone – coach Gary Williams included – knows that. But what is a bit surprising is Maryland’s three-game slide to close the regular season has them in position to perhaps need a win in the ACC tournament just to make the NIT.

Granted, NIT projections are a less exact science than NCAA projections. It’s really a guessing game. But if the NIT committee plans to piece together an equitable bracket – and it has moved in that direction since the NCAA took over the event.

As for how the NIT field might look just six days from Selection Sunday, take a look (*-automatic berth):

EAST

(1) Virginia Tech vs. (8) Coastal Carolina*
(4) Washington State vs. (5) Southern Mississippi
(3) Oklahoma State vs. (6) California
(2) Cleveland State vs. (7) Hofstra

WEST

(1) Colorado vs. (8) Murray State*
(4) New Mexico vs. (5) Mississippi
(3) Southern California vs. (6) Princeton
(2) Colorado State vs. (7) Northwestern

NORTH

(1) Penn State vs. (8) Fairfield*
(4) Marshall vs. (5) Miami
(3) Memphis vs. (6) Maryland
(2) Nebraska vs. (7) Central Florida

EAST

(1) Alabama vs. (8) Florida Atlantic*
(4) Wichita State vs. (5) Drexel
(3) Texas-El Paso vs. (6) Baylor
(2) Missouri State* vs. (7) Vermont*

Patrick Stevens