The 2013 NIT Tournament bracket was officially revealed via ESPN U on Sunday night, not long after 68 teams were formally announced for the “Big Dance.” That means 32 other schools will be in the National Invitation Tournament, which opens play on Tuesday. Kentucky, Alabama, Virginia, and Southern Miss all earned #1 seeds in what is considered by most a consolation tournament of sorts.
For teams that didn’t get into the NCAA Tournament bracket, the next best thing is the NIT. According to NCAA.com, also among this year’s NIT invites is Big East team St. John’s who will make their record 29th appearance in the NIT. Only seven teams are returning from the 2012 edition of this tournament, with the defending champions, Stanford, also included. Other teams making it to this year’s field include Providence, Florida State, Maryland, Baylor, Mercer, St. Joseph’s, Indiana State, Iowa, and Massachusetts.
NIT Selection Committee chair C.M. Newton said of this year’s field:
“Once again, the Committee has come up with an outstanding field of strong teams with outstanding credentials. In addition to the at-large bids we handed out, we’re excited to reward 10 regular season conference champions as automatic qualifiers to play in the NIT.”
The teams to watch for this year’s NIT would have to be Kentucky and Virginia early. The only disadvantage the Wildcats will have besides the Nerlens Noel ACL injury is that instead of opening at home in Rupp Arena, they will play at Robert Morris, a small gym where the fans will be going crazy. Meanwhile, Virginia will open the first several rounds at home and has been impossible to defeat on that court. That could give them plenty of momentum to go far into the NIT and maybe even win it all.
The NIT Tournament schedule opens on Tuesday with 9 games shown via the ESPN network. That will include games between 7 and 11 p.m. EST on ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPNU, and ESPN3, the live stream broadband sports network.