Aug. 19, 2008
The 16-team field for the 2008 Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off Tournament was announced Tuesday by C.M. Newton, chair of the NIT Selection Committee. Santa Clara University will begin play in the West Regional in Tucson, Ariz., with a first-round match up at 5 pm (all times Pacific) on Mon. Nov. 17 vs. UAB, a 2008 postseason participant, at host Arizona. The winner will advance to play either host Arizona or Florida Atlantic on Tues, Nov. 18 on ESPN2 at 8:30 pm with the losers playing in the consolation game at 5:30 pm.
It is Santa Clara's first time playing in the preseason event. The Broncos, 15-16 last season, are beginning their second season under head coach Kerry Keating and will be led by preseason WCC player of the year candidate John Bryant and Calvin Johnson. UAB will be making its third appearance at the NIT, and first since the 1989-90 campaign. UAB, coached by Mike Davis, fell 75-49 to Virginia Tech in the second round of the NIT last year to finish the year at 23-11.
"We are honored to be a part of the NIT. Growing up in the New York metropolitan area, I have a great appreciation for the NIT, its history and the opportunity it will present our team to not only play challenging games, but provide a tournament setting for our young team to experience," said Keating. "We look forward to participating and hope that it will benefit us in the long run."
"Once again, the NIT Season Tip-Off Tournament features an outstanding field and we look forward to another exciting start to college basketball," commented Newton.
The 2008 NIT Season Tip-Off teams and brackets are as follows:
The East Regional will take place at Boston College and the Eagles will play Loyola (Maryland) while Cornell squares off against St. John's.
In the North Regional, Purdue is the host site for its game against Eastern Michigan and for the Georgia vs. Loyola (Chicago) match-up.
Oklahoma is the site for the South Regional, and the Sooners will tip against Mississippi Valley State and James Madison will play Davidson.
In the West Regional, Arizona is the host against Florida Atlantic and Santa Clara faces UAB. All first-round games will take place on November 17 with the championship and consolation games of the four regions to follow on November 18.
The NIT Season Tip-Off, which began in 1985, has evolved to an enhanced format this year that guarantees every team four games. First- and second-round games will be played at the home campus sites of the four highest-seeded teams. The winners of those sites will move onto New York's Madison Square Garden over the Thanksgiving holiday for the semifinal and final doubleheaders November 26 and 28.
The remaining 12 teams will play third- and fourth-round games on November 24 and 25. These games will be played on the home campus sites of the three highest remaining seeds. Participating teams will not play any team twice and third and fourth rounds will be assigned to the most geographically compatible site possible.
ESPN will provide coverage throughout the event; televising games on ESPN2 and ESPNU, with select games also simulcast on ESPN360.com.
Santa Clara's complete 2008-09 schedule will be announced later this month.