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NIT 2018: TV Schedule, Live-Stream Info for Tournament Bracket Reveal

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 9, 2018

LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 24:  Dimencio Vaughn #14 of the Rider Broncs goes to dunk the ball against the Hampton Pirates during the championship game of the 2017 Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational basketball tournament at the Orleans Arena on November 24, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Rider won 94-80.  (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
David Becker/Getty Images

Although each of the 351 Division I men's college basketball teams want to participate in the NCAA tournament, earning a bid in the National Invitation Tournament is still an honor.

Thirty-two teams that don't make the March Madness field get this distinction, and every year the competition contains solid schools that fell short in their conference tournaments.

That should also be the case this season, as the 2018 NIT may feature three teams that made the NCAA tournament last year, won its regular-season title this year but didn't come home with the conference trophy (Middle Tennessee, Florida Gulf Coast and Northern Kentucky).

We'll take quick looks at those three teams as well as another trio that has already made the NIT field. You can also find the television schedule and live-stream information for the bracket reveal as well as some relevant dates.

        

Tournament Bracket Reveal Information Schedule

ESPNU will carry the NIT Selection Special on Sunday starting at 8:30 p.m. ET. Fans can live-stream the bracket reveal via WatchESPN.

         

Men's NIT Dates

Sunday, March 11: Bracket revealed

Tuesday, March 13 and Wednesday, March 14: Round 1 at campus sites

Thursday, March 15 through Monday, March 19: Round 2 at campus sites

Tuesday, March 20 and Wednesday, March 21: NIT quarterfinals at campus sites

Tuesday, March 27: NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden in New York City

Thursday, March 29: NIT finals at Madison Square Garden in New York City

              

NIT Format

The 32 teams are split into four quadrants of eight teams each and seeded No. 1 through No. 8. The higher seed always hosts the lower seed in the first three rounds. There is no reseeding.

Teams that won their conference's regular-season title but did not make the NCAA tournament are automatically invited into the NIT. Other at-large teams for the field are chosen by a committee based off a variety of factors, such as Ratings Percentage Index and strength of schedule.

          

Qualified Teams

Florida Gulf Coast

The Eagles won the Atlantic Sun regular-season crown but fell to Lipscomb in the championship game, 108-96.

This high-scoring team posts 82 points per game, led by senior guard Brandon Goodwin with 18.6 per night. Per the Pomeroy College Basketball Ratings, the Eagles like to push the pace, as they rank 45th in the nation in adjusted tempo.

FGCU is mostly known for its "Dunk City" team in 2012-13 that made the NCAA tournament as a No. 15 seed and upset No. 2 Georgetown and No. 7 San Diego State.

Although the Eagles haven't matched that success in recent years, they've still fared very well, winning no fewer than 21 games and earning a postseason tournament bid each time.

          

Northern Kentucky

The No. 15 seed Norse gave No. 2 Kentucky a scare last year when it lost by just nine points (79-70). They looked poised to return to the NCAA tournament this year but suffered a big upset loss against Cleveland State in the Horizon League quarterfinals.

Still, the Norse had a great year up until that point, winning 22 games and finishing 15-3 in conference play.

Junior forward Drew McDonald leads the team in scoring and rebounding with 16.9 points and 9.5 boards. Senior guard Lavone Holland II paces the Norse with 4.5 assists.

           

Rider

Like Northern Kentucky, the Rider Broncs won its conference regular-season title thanks to a 15-3 record but fell short in the quarterfinals. Saint Peter's got the best of the Broncos in a 66-55 win, sending Rider to the NIT.

The Broncs are a high-flying, high-scoring team: Pomeroy lists them with the No. 11 adjusted tempo in Division I, and they post 82 points per night. Five players average double-digit figures, led by 15.8 points a night from freshman guard Dimencio Vaughn.

         

UNC Asheville

The Bulldogs won a tough race for the Big South regular-season title with a 13-5 record, holding off 12-6 Radford and 12-6 Winthrop, but they lost to Radford in the semifinals.

Senior guard Ahmad Thomas and sophomore guard Macio Teague lead the Bulldogs in scoring (16.6 and 16.5 points per game, respectively). Thomas also is No. 1 in steals (1.9) and rebounds (5.7).

         

Wagner

The Seahawks finished 14-4 and took first in the Northeast Conference standings, but an 18-point first half doomed Wagner in the conference championship game en route to a 71-61 loss to LIU Brooklyn.

Wagner has a three-headed scoring monster in sophomore guard Blake Francis, junior guard Romone Saunders and senior guard JoJo Cooper, who combined to average 46.1 of the team's 75 points per game.

        

Middle Tennessee

A note that this inclusion comes with a caveat, as 24-win MTSU could still qualify for the NCAA tournament. However, per the Bracket Matrix, MTSU is currently on the outside looking into the March Madness field.

Perhaps the biggest shock of the entire week of conference tournament play was seeing the Blue Raiders lose to Southern Miss in the Conference USA quarterfinals. MTSU won NCAA tournament games as a No. 15 seed and No. 12 seed in the past two years and looked poised to make more noise in this year's NCAA tournament. However, they'll be participating in the NIT this year and should be one of the tournament favorites.

Senior forward Nick King leads the way with 21.2 points and 8.4 rebounds per game, while senior guard Giddy Potts (who posted a 19-point effort to upset national-championship favorite Michigan State in 2016) scores 13 a night.

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