The National Invitational Tournament (NIT) is always overshadowed by the NCAA tournament. While it may not have the public draw or induce the “madness,” it’s a great chance for the teams that didn’t make the cut for the NCAA tournament to end their seasons on a positive note, get younger players experience on a big stage and grow the prestige of their programs.
We still don’t know which teams will be participating in the NIT, but we do know all the logistical information—and it’s all presented here for you to wrap your head around it.
|1||Mar. 18 - 19|
|2||Mar. 20 - 24|
|Quarterfinals||Mar. 25 - 26|
For the first three rounds, each game is played in the arena of one of the participating teams. The higher seed in each game will have the first option to host the game, unless logistical circumstances prevent that from occurring.
While some may consider that unfair in a single-game elimination tournament, it certainly adds drama and atmosphere to the games as rabid fanbases get to cheer on their teams as the opponents attempt to silence the crowds once and for all.
The semifinal and championship games are played in the arena widely regarded as the Mecca of Basketball: Madison Square Garden.
Sunday Mar. 16 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU
The field for the NIT will be announced on ESPNU after the Selection Show for the NCAA tournament.
How is field selected?
The NIT has a smaller pool of competition than the NCAA tournament, with 32 teams competing for the right to hoist the trophy on the storied floor of Madison Square Garden.
Automatic qualification is given to regular-season conference champions that missed out on a berth in the NCAA tournament.
After that, the rest of the field is made up of the best remaining teams in the country as determined by the NIT Selection Committee.
The field of 32 is then divided into four eight-team regions and the bracket is set.
Where You Can Watch the Games
ESPN (and its affiliates) is the home of the NIT, with games being broadcast on the various channels owned by the network.
Here is a preliminary schedule, although there are still dates and times that aren’t finalized yet.
|NIT TV Schedule|
|Date & Time||Round||Channel||Date & Time||Round||Channel|
|Tuesday Mar. 18||Thursday Mar. 20|
|7 p.m.||First Round||ESPNU||TBA||Second Round||TBA|
|7 p.m.||First Round||ESPN2||Friday Mar. 21|
|7:30 p.m.||First Round||ESPN||9:30 p.m.||Second Round||ESPNU|
|9 p.m.||First Round||ESPNU||Saturday Mar. 22|
|9 p.m.||First Round||ESPN2||11 a.m.||Second Round||ESPN|
|9:30 p.m.||First Round||ESPN||Sunday Mar. 23|
|11 p.m.||First Round||ESPN2||11 a.m.||Second Round||ESPN|
|TBA||First Round||ESPN3||5 p.m.||Second Round||ESPNU|
|TBA||First Round||ESPN3||Monday Mar. 24|
|7 p.m.||Second Round||ESPN|
|Wednesday Mar. 19||9 p.m.||Second Round||ESPN|
|7 p.m.||First Round||ESPN2||11:30 p.m.||Second Round||ESPN2|
|8 p.m.||First Round||ESPNU||Tuesday Mar. 25|
|9 p.m.||First Round||ESPN2||7 p.m.||Quarterfinal||ESPN|
|10 p.m.||First Round||ESPNU||9 p.m.||Quarterfinal||ESPN|
|TBA||First Round||ESPN3||Wednesday Mar. 26|
|TBA||First Round||ESPN3||7 p.m.||Quarterfinal||ESPN2|
|TBA||First Round||ESPN3||9 p.m.||Quarterfinal||ESPN2|
|Tuesday Apr. 1|
|Thursday Apr. 3|
That’s all the information we know right now, before the field is announced, but don’t make the mistake of writing off the NIT because it’s the “little brother” of the NCAA tourney. The single-game elimination format still means that there will be plenty of madness, and the passion that makes college basketball special—from the players to the coaches to the fans—will be the driving force of the 2014 NIT.