Four ACC teams and a rematch of the memorable Georgetown-Princeton game in the 1989 NCAA tournament highlight this year's NIT field.
Wake Forest, North Carolina State, Clemson and
Georgia Tech earned NIT bids Sunday from the
Atlantic Coast Conference. Only three ACC teams
were chosen for the NCAA tournament.
Princeton, which nearly pulled the biggest upset in NCAA tournament history 10 years ago before losing to top-seeded Georgetown 50-49 in the first round, will play host to the Hoyas on Wednesday.
There are eight 20-game winners in the 32-team NIT, including Fresno State (21-11), Mississippi State (20-12) and Xavier (21-10).
"We really felt like we earned an opportunity for the NCAA tournament," said Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury. "We won 20 games in one of the best conferences in America. ... I don't understand why we weren't selected."
The Big East, WAC and Big 12 also placed four schools in the NIT.
Other intriguing first-round matchups are Jerry Tarkanian's Fresno State squad at California (17-11), an interstate battle between Northwestern (15-13) and DePaul (17-12), and Providence (16-13) at North Carolina State (18-13).
"At some point we figured we'd end up playing," said Northwestern coach Kevin O'Neill. "The NIT will do whatever it thinks is best for the tournament. We're just happy to be in the postseason and excited to be able to keep playing."
The first three rounds of the tournament will be played at campus sites. All first-round matches will be played on Wednesday. The second round will be held March 15-16, and the third round will take place March 17-19.
The semifinals and finals will be played at New York's Madison Square Garden on March 23 and 25.
The other first-round matchups are: Hofstra (22-9) at Rutgers (18-12); Georgia (15-14) at Clemson (16-14); Seton Hall (15-14) at Old Dominion (24-8); Butler (20-9) at Bradley (17-11); Xavier (21-10) at Toledo (19-7); Alabama (17-14) at Wake Forest (16-13); Pepperdine (19-12) at Colorado (17-14); Southern California (15-12) at Wyoming (17-9); UNLV (16-12) at Nebraska (19-12); Texas Christian (19-10) at Kansas State (20-12); and Georgia Tech (15-15) at Oregon (16-11).
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