Oklahoma, Dayton, SMU, Texas A&M headline NIT field

SEC Texas A M Tennessee Basketball
Posted at 9:55 AM, Mar 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-14 10:55:26-04

DAYTON, Ohio. — Dayton, Oklahoma, SMU and Texas A&M earned top seeds Sunday night in the National Invitation Tournament, part of a field that also includes recent national champions.

Virginia (19-13), which won its first national title in 2019, will host Mississippi State (18-15) in what could be the last game for Bulldogs coach Ben Howland, whose future with the program beyond the NIT is in doubt.

Howland is 134-97 in seven seasons at Mississippi State, with one NCAA Tournament appearance.

Florida (19-13), which won back-to-back national titles in 2006 and 2007, will face Iona (25-7) and coach Rick Pitino, who guided Kentucky to the national championship in 1996. Pitino also won a national title with Louisville in 2013, but the NCAA later vacated that result because of an escort sex scandal investigated during that period.

Dayton (23-10) will play at Toledo despite its top seeding because its arena hosts NCAA Tournament play-in games on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Flyers are making their 27th appearance in the field, most among 2022 invitees.

Among the other top seeds, Oklahoma (18-15) will host Missouri State (23-10 in the first round; SMU (23-8) will host Nicholls (21-11) and Texas A&M (23-11) will host Alcorn (17-16).

Only the top half of the 32-team field was seeded. The bottom 16 were placed in brackets as close to their area of natural interest as possible.

Texas A&M was considered a big snub by the NCAA Tournament selection committee. Other notable snubs in the NIT field include Wake Forest (23-9), which will host Towson (25-8); Xavier (18-13), which will host Cleveland State (20-10); BYU (22-10), which will host Long Beach State (20-12); and VCU (21-9), which will host Princeton (23-5).

First-round games will be played March 15-16 and the second round from March 19-20. The tournament then moves to Madison Square Garden in New York for the semifinals on March 29 and the championship on March 31.

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