The NIT is the place where those teams who had their bubbles burst on Selection Sunday are able to find some respite. It used to be just a bigger deal than the NCAA tournament for teams. Now it is a good reason to keep teams playing.
Still, the event does mean a lot to the teams involved. The field of 32 will give all they can to play in Madison Square Garden for the championship.
All of the information that you need to prepare you for the 2012 NIT is right here, in one small easy-to-read package.
When: First three rounds played between March 13-21. Semifinals will be played on March 27. Finals will be played March 29.
Watch: All NIT games will be broadcast on ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN U and ESPN 3
Live Stream: All Games Stream on ESPN3.com
March 11, 2012
2012 NIT Basketball Tournament First Round and Second Round Schedule
March 13-19, 2012
*All games will be played at home court of highest seeded teams
Quarterfinals (Played In Madison Square Garden)
March 20-22, 2012
Final Four (Played In Madison Square Garden)
March 27, 2012
Championship Game (Played In Madison Square Garden)
March 29, 2012
Top Potential Teams
Northwestern (18-13, 8-10 in Big Ten)
The Wildcats had a golden opportunity to impress the selection committee in the Big Ten tournament, but a first-round loss to Minnesota is going to make it very difficult for them to sneak into the big dance. Instead, it appears that another NIT bid is on the horizon.
Washington (21-10, 14-4 in Big Ten)
It has been a strange season for the Pac-12, with the top-seeded Huskies falling to Oregon in their first conference tournament game.
Nothing about their overall resume screams NCAA tournament team, so they could be a major-conference regular season champion that fails to make it into the big dance. Considering how much raw talent is on the roster, they could run through the NIT.
South Florida (20-13, 12-6 in Big East
At first glance, it would appear that the Bulls are a lock for the NCAA tournament. But a series of poor losses out of conference—Penn State and Auburn, among others—combined with an uninspiring run in the Big East tournament make them an NIT team.