NIT: Maryland, Virginia join defending NCAA champ Kentucky in field

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Maryland and Virginia missed out on the NCAA tournament, but they’ll each get at least one more game in March.

The ACC foes both earned spots in the National Invitation Tournament field, which was announced Sunday night.

The Terps will host Niagara in an opening-round NIT game Tuesday at 7 p.m., while the Cavaliers will welcome Norfolk State Tuesday at 9 p.m. The Maryland game will be televised by ESPN2, while Virginia will be on ESPNU.

The Cavaliers are one of four No. 1 seeds in the 32-team field, joining Kentucky, Southern Miss and Alabama. Maryland is the second seed in Alabama’s quadrant.

The Wildcats not only must face the indignity of competing in the NIT instead of defending their NCAA title, they’ll have to open play on the road. Rupp Arena is an NCAA site this weekend, so Kentucky will travel to Pittsburgh to face tiny Robert Morris, its first-round NIT opponent.

Disappointed as he was to miss out on the main event, Maryland coach Mark Turgeon sees plenty of value in an NIT bid.

“We’re playing our best basketball,” Turgeon told ESPNU. “It took a while for this team to grow up, but we’ve gotten a lot better here in the last month. It’s a great opportunity for a young team, in only my second year here, to hopefully play some more basketball here in March.”

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