UTA Mavericks Men’s Basketball Headed to BYU for NIT First Round

Photo courtesy: www.utamavs.com

The Sun Belt Conference regular season champion UTA men’s basketball team will face BYU Wednesday in Provo, Utah in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament.

The Mavericks, making the third NIT appearance in program history, are seeded sixth in their region, while BYU is a No. 3 seed. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. (CST) and the game will be televised nationally by ESPN2.

“We are obviously very excited to be playing in the NIT and have a big challenge ahead of us with a very good BYU team in the first round,” said UTA head coach Scott Cross. “BYU is a seasoned team, is extremely well coached and showed their quality with a win over No. 1 ranked Gonzaga this year.”

The winner of Wednesday’s game will play the winner of a Wednesday night first round game featuring 7th seeded Akron at No. 2 seeded Houston (7:30 p.m., ESPNU).

The 32-team NIT field features 21 teams with at least 20 wins, 10 automatic qualifiers and representation from 20 of the 32 Division I conferences.

First-round play is scheduled for Tuesday, March 14 and Wednesday, March 15, with the second round running March 16-20. Quarterfinals will be held on March 21 and 22, and four teams will advance to New York City for the semifinals on Tuesday, March 28. The NIT will conclude with the championship game on Thursday, March 30. The semifinal and championship games will be played at New York’s historic Madison Square Garden for the 80th year.

“This is always a very challenging process and, while we are pleased with the makeup of the field, we know there were many teams worthy of being in this tournament,” said Reggie Minton, chair of the NIT Selection Committee. “One thing we noticed when putting this field together is the number of quality wins of these teams had during the season.”

“We are excited about the tournament and we think it will be as competitive a field as we’ve ever had. We look forward to tipping things off on Tuesday.”

NIT games are being televised by ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3. Additional NIT information can be found on www.NCAA.com/NIT.

UTA and BYU have played just once previously with the Cougars taking an 87-70 victory in Provo on Dec. 9, 1988. The matchup was a first round contest in BYU’s Cougar Classic.