Washington will play Minnesota in the 2012 NIT semifinals on March 27, at Madison Square Garden (6 p.m., Pacific, ESPN2). The winner will go on to the 2012 NIT championship game on March 29, playing the winner of the Stanford-Massachussetts match. The unedited article below was posted prior to this result.
Of the teams named by the NCAA selection committee as being the last six out of the 2012 NCAA Tournament, only one, Nevada, remains standing in the 2012 NIT.
Washington (24-10) did not receive an NCAA bid, and was not named as one of the last six out, despite being the Pac-12 regular-season champion. However, with a win over Oregon (24-10) in the NIT quarterfinals, the Huskies now advance to the 2012 NIT semifinals.
Oral Roberts, Mississippi State, Seton Hall, Miami and Drexel, were all named as being one of the last six teams excluded from the 2012 NCAA Tournament. All have lost in the NIT.
Nevada is in the NIT quarterfinals, in a match against Stanford (6 p.m. Pacific, March 21). The winner of which will advance to the NIT semifinals in New York City where they’ll face Massachusetts.
Washington is the last remaining No. 1 seed in the 2012 NIT, after Arizona, Seton Hall and Tennessee all lost. Washington’s close quarterfinals win over No. 3 seed Oregon allowed the Huskies to continue advancing in the 2012 NIT.
The Huskies trailed the Ducks by four points, 46-42, at the half of their quarterfinal match. An 18-foot jumper by C.J. Wilcox with 12:46 remaining in the game gave the Huskies the lead, which they held onto in their 90-86 win. The Ducks fought the Huskies fiercely up until the very end of the game.
Terrence Ross led the Huskies in scoring with 24 points, while Olu Ashaolu led the Ducks with 20 points. The Huskies' Tony Wroten had 22 points, making 10-of-14 free-throw attempts. Washington shot a .452 field goal percentage, and Oregon shot a .449 field goal percentage in the NIT quarterfinals game.
Oregon came into the game scoring 90 points or more in four of their last five games, and had a season-record high of 108 points in their NIT second-round win against Iowa.
The Huskies entered the NIT quarterfinal game against Oregon following a 76-55 win over Northwestern. In that game, Washington’s Terrence Ross had a career-high 32-point performance.
Washington and Oregon split regular season games this year, with each winning on their home court. Washington now extends their win-loss record against Oregon to 187-105.
Washington’s rubber-match win over Oregon this season in the NIT quarterfinals took place in Seattle. The Huskies will now face the winner of the Middle Tennessee-Minnesota game in the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden on March 27.
Middle Tennessee (27-6) finished the regular season first in the Sun Belt-East. The Blue Raiders played and defeated (86-66) one other Pac-12 team, UCLA, this season. Middle Tennessee got to the NIT quarterfinals by defeating Marshall, 86-78, and Tennessee, 71-64.
Minnesota (21-14) finished the regular season ninth in the Big Ten. The Golden Gophers had one win over an AP Top 25 team this season against then-No. 7 Indiana, 77-74. The Gophers got to the NIT quarterfinals by beating La Salle, 70-61, and Miami, 78-60.
The winner of the Huskies’ semifinals game will advance to the NIT championship game on March 29, also taking place at Madison Square Garden.
This will be the Huskies' second trip to Madison Square Garden this season. Washington lost to then-No. 11 Marquette, 79-77, and then-No. 7 Duke, 86-80, there in December.
The NIT can be seen as a consolation prize to many teams left out of the Big Dance. However, in a year in which the Pac-12 has not fared well in the media, and in which its regular-season champion failed to get an NCAA at-large bid, there is more at stake for the conference.
For the NCAA-snubbed Huskies, the NIT is a chance at some sort of redemption and closure on the season. Now only two more wins stand in Washington’s way of achieving that.
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