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NIT 2019: Dates, Format, Schedule for Men and Women's Tournaments

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMarch 11, 2019

FILE - In this March 15, 2018, file photo, South Dakota State forward Mike Daum, left, puts up a shot against Ohio State forward Jae'Sean Tate, right, during the first half of a first-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament, in Boise, Idaho. Daum was one of only three Division I players to average over 20 points and 10 rebounds last season. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

Even though Selection Sunday is days away, we already have an idea of which college basketball programs will miss out on the NCAA tournament. 

On the men's side, four regular-season conference champions in the mid-major ranks were defeated in their respective conference tournaments, which automatically qualifies them for the men's NIT. 

The women's conference tournaments haven't experienced that much attrition yet, but there's still a possibility for it to occur with plenty of mid-major conference tournaments left to be played. 

The men's NIT is comprised of 32 teams, while the women's bracket is made up of 64 programs who missed out on the Big Dance. 

                            

Dates, Schedule and Format

The men's NIT begins March 19 and 20 with first-round games and concludes April 4 with the championship at Madison Square Garden. 

The women's NIT begins March 20 with first-round contests, and the championship will be held April 6. 

Just like the NCAA tournament, the men's and women's NIT play games in quick succession of each other, but unlike the Big Dance, the bulk of the games are played on campus. 

The men's tournament moves to Madison Square Garden for the Final Four, while the women's NIT remains on campus throughout the tournament. 

Both defending champions come from the Big Ten, as Penn State won the men's NIT and Indiana took first in the women's NIT in 2018. 

                        

Top Mid-Major Stars Set For Men's NIT 

One of the heartbreaking parts of mid-major conference tournaments is watching some of the nation's best individual players fall short of reaching the NCAA tournament. 

Since most mid-major conferences are one-bid leagues, the stars are required to propel their respective teams to a conference tournament title while avoiding upsets. 

Unfortunately for Campbell's Chris Clemons and South Dakota State's Mike Daum, their teams were dethroned in the Big South and Summit League tournament. 

Both Clemons and Daum eclipsed the 3,000-point mark during their senior campaigns, but instead of being showcased in the NCAA tournament, both players are relegated to NIT play. 

Jason E. Miczek/Associated Press

A dream matchup between Campbell and South Dakota State in the NIT first round could be possible, but since both teams won their respective regular-season titles, it might be hard to justify seeding them against each other in the first round. 

Loyola-Chicago and Belmont suffered similar fates in the Missouri Valley Conference and Ohio Valley Conference tournaments, respectively.

The Ramblers, who made an amazing run to the Final Four in 2018, have some familiar faces in Cameron Krutwig, Marques Townes and Clayton Custer looking to finish their season with the best result possible. 

Belmont is in a different situation at the moment, as it is hoping to make the field of 68 as an at-large team. 

If Rick Byrd's Bruins aren't included in the NCAA tournament, they'll be one of the teams to beat in the NIT behind guard Dylan Windler. 

With Clemons, Daum, Custer, Townes and Krutwig already in the fold, and Windler possibly joining them, the 2019 men's NIT is expected to be a showcase of the best players from the mid-major ranks, which will make it well worth watching. 

                           

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

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