This story has been updated.
After falling to 13-seeded Nebraska in the Big Ten tournament as a No. 5 seed, the Maryland men’s basketball team will head to Jacksonville, Florida, as a 6 seed in the 2019 NCAA Tournament.
The Terps, slotted in the East region, will play the winner of 11-seeded Temple or Belmont on Thursday in the Round of 64.
“We’re really proud of what we accomplished this year to this point,” head coach Mark Turgeon said. “In a great league, with a difficult schedule, to see your name pop up on Selection Sunday was great. And if you guys could have been in the room with us, you would have seen pure joy and excitement on these guys’ faces.
“We’re super excited. We get to stay on the East coast, head down to Jacksonville. The weather will be warm, and we’re looking forward to it.”
Maryland (22-10, 13-7) is back in the tournament after a one-year hiatus, missing out on the 2018 NCAA tournament and the NIT after finishing with a 19-13 record last season.
The Terps looked poised for an even higher seed after starting the season 16-4 and winning seven straight games in the heart of their Big Ten schedule. But losing three of their last seven, including lopsided defeats at Penn State and an early exit in the Big Ten tournament for the third straight year, likely prevented Maryland from receiving a better draw in the tournament.
If Maryland were to beat the winner of the Belmont-Temple matchup, which will be on Tuesday, the Terps would play the winner of the matchup between No. 3 seed LSU and No. 14 seed Yale.
A victory in the second round would have the the Terps playing in Washington, D.C. for the Sweet 16, which would set up a welcomed home-court advantage.
“I didn’t know about the DC part yet,” sophomore forward Bruno Fernando said when asked about the possibility of playing close to College Park. “All I know is we play in Jacksonville — which is good, nice weather — and then we get to play on Thursday.”
The last time Maryland was in the NCAA Tournament was 2017, when they were a 6 seed once again and upset in the first round by 11-seeded Xavier, 76-65. Junior guard Anthony Cowan Jr. is the only remaining player from the team’s last tournament appearance who received significant playing time.
“I was nervous as ever,” Cowan said of his time in the NCAA tournament as a freshman. “My message to [teammates] is play with confidence, do what you did all this year. Don’t try to switch anything up. Just play hard and expect to win.”