Monday, March 12, 2001

Men's NIT Preview

Six Big East teams fill field

AP Sports Writer

        NEW YORK — The Big East, which sent five teams to the NCAA tournament, had six more selected for the NIT on Sunday night.

        Connecticut (19-11), Villanova (18-12), West Virginia (17-11), Seton Hall (16-14), Miami (16-12) and Pittsburgh (18-13) are among the 32-team field that begins play at campus sites on Tuesday.

        The semifinals and finals will be played at Madison Square Garden on March 27 and 29.

        St. John's, Virginia Tech and Rutgers — which all had losing records — are the only Big East schools not to be chosen for postseason play.

        Seton Hall, a surprise semifinalist in the Big East tournament, will play at Alabama (21-10) on Tuesday night.

        Connecticut, the 1999 NCAA champion, will play host to South Carolina (15-14) the next night. Also on Wednesday, Miami travels to Auburn (17-13); Villanova plays at Minnesota (17-13); and Pittsburgh welcomes St. Bonaventure (18-11).

        West Virginia will play Friday at Richmond, the regular-season champion of the Colonial Athletic Association. The Spiders (21-6) were barred from the CAA tournament because they are moving to the Atlantic 10 next season.

        North Carolina-Wilmington (19-10) will be at Dayton (19-12) on Wednesday in the same building where the NCAA opening-round game will be held the night before. First- and second-round Midwest Regional games will also take place at University of Dayton Arena on Friday and Sunday.

        Other first-round matchups on Wednesday, include, Detroit (22-10) at Bradley (19-11); Illinois State (21-8) at Purdue (15-14); UC Irvine (25-4) at Tulsa (21-11); Southern Mississippi (22-8) at Mississippi State (16-12); Pepperdine (21-8) at Wyoming (20-9); Baylor (19-11) at New Mexico (19-12); and McNeese State (22-8) at Texas-El Paso (22-8).

        South Alabama (22-10) travels to Toledo (21-10) to play the only game on Thursday night. The only other Tuesday night game has Memphis (17-14) at Utah (19-11).

Men's NIT Pairings

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