The 2009 Men's National Invitation Tournament (NIT) Tip-Off (officially known as the 2009 Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off Tournament) will begin on November 16, 2009. It will be televised on the ESPN family of networks,
The field was announced Wednesday, with Duke as the number 1 seed. Sadly, this is not meant to be an exiting tournament that generates the possible upset buzz of the NCAA Tournament. It is clearly seeded to get the teams that the organizers and ESPN want to be in the final four, oops I mean First FourTM. It is disheartening to just look at the match-ups.
In fact, since the NCAA now owns the NIT, it is disingenuous for them to say they believe in balanced competition and equity. While it is great for the lower seeds to get game against the big boys, the NCAA cannot possibly say, with a straight face, that they are only pushing the Marque teams. Surely there must have been more competitive teams for the lower seeds?
Nonetheless, here is the field and the first round match-ups as announced on Wednesday, August 12, 2009:
Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, NC (East Region)The regional championships and first round consolation games will be played on November 17, 2009. Consolation games for the regional final losers will be played on November 23 and 24, 2009. The national semifinals will be played on November 25, 2009 in Madison Square Garden, with the championship and consolation game played on November 27, 2009 in the Garden.
Coastal Carolina (11-20, 5-13 Big South) vs. #1 Duke (30-7, 11-5 ACC)
Elon (11-20, 7-13 Southern Conference) vs. #8 Charlotte (11-20, 5-11 A10)
Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe, AZ (West Region)
Texas State (14-16, 7-9 Southland) vs. #4 Arizona State (25-10, 11-7 PAC 10)
Cal State Northridge (17-14, 11-5 Big West) vs. #5 TCU (14-17, 5-11 Mountain West)
Pete Maravich Assembly Center, Baton Rouge, LA (South Region)
Indiana State (11-21, 7-11 MVC) vs. #3 LSU (27-8, 13-3 SEC)
Milwaukee (17-14, 11-7 Horizon) vs. #5 Western Kentucky (25-9, 15-3 Sun Belt)
Harry A. Gampel Pavillion, Storrs, CT (East Region)
Colgate (10-20, 5-9 Patriot) vs. #2 UConn (31-5, 15-3 Big East)
Yale (13-15, 8-6 Ivy) vs. #6 Hofstra (21-11, 11-7 Colonial)
Finally, here is the official press release as issued by the tournament organizers.
The Run to the "First FourTM"
NEW YORK - Marking its 25th anniversary, the 2009 Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off Tournament field was announced today by C.M. Newton, chair of the NIT Selection Committee.
"Anyone who is a fan of college basketball knows the storied history behind this tournament - the foundation of the great fields started with the first NIT in 1985, when three of the NCAA Final Four® teams that played in March met in the NIT Season Tip-Off championships at Madison Square Garden, a kind of "First FourTM," commented Newton, who is in the College Basketball Hall of Fame.
The 2009 Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off teams and brackets are as follows:
The East Regional will take place at Duke University where the Blue Devils, three time champions of the NIT Season Tip-Off (1985, 2000, 2005), will play the Big South Conference's Coastal Carolina University, while the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, from the Atlantic 10 Conference, will face Southern Conference representative Elon University.
In the West Regional, Arizona State University, a 1997 fourth-place finisher in the NIT Season Tip-Off, is the host site for its game against Texas State University-San Marcos out of the Southland Conference, and for the Texas Christian University (TCU) vs. Cal State Northridge matchup.
The Southeastern Conference's Louisiana State University is the site for the South Regional, and the Tigers will tip against Indiana State University from the Missouri Valley Conference, while Western Kentucky University, who finished second in the 1986 NIT Season Tip-Off, will play the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, from the Horizon League.
In the North Regional, the University of Connecticut, twice a third-place finisher in the NIT Season Tip-Off (1997, 2003), is the host against the Patriot League's, Colgate University, while Hofstra University, from the Colonial Athletic Association faces Yale University.
The regional games will be played on November 16 and 17, the consolation bracket will take place on November 23 and 24 (sites to be determined), and the Championship round comes to New York City's Madison Square Garden for the "First Four" semifinal and final doubleheaders, November 25 and 27. The NIT Season Tip-Off assures every participating team four games once again this year.
First- and second-round games will be played at the home campus of the four highest-seeded teams. The winners of those sites will move onto New York City. The remaining 12 teams will play third- and fourth-round games on the home campus sites of the three highest remaining seeds. Participating teams will not play any team twice, and the third and fourth rounds will be assigned to the most geographically compatible site possible.
ESPN will provide coverage throughout the event, televising games on ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNU. Games on ESPN and ESPN2 will be simulcast on ESPN360.com
Tournament Web site