Villanova One of Six Big East Entrants
Six Big East schools, including Villanova and its suspension-limited roster, are in the 40-team field for the men’s National Invitation Tournament.
Five other conferences -- the Atlantic 10, Atlantic Coast, Conference USA, Big Ten and Mountain West -- each had three teams chosen for the tournament, which starts tonight and concludes with the championship game at Madison Square Garden on April 3.
UC Santa Barbara (18-13) was the only Big West Conference team selected. The Gauchos open at San Diego State on Wednesday.
The Mountain West will have San Diego State (15-12), Nevada Las Vegas (21-10) and Wyoming (20-10).
Villanova (15-15), which had 12 players suspended on March 9 for alleged unauthorized use of a campus phone access code, will be limited to seven players, as it was in its final regular-season game against Pittsburgh and its Big East tournament first-round game against Georgetown.
The Wildcats open at Siena (19-11), which won last season’s NCAA tournament play-in game before losing in the first round to eventual champion Maryland. The other Big East teams selected were Boston College (18-11), Georgetown (15-14), Providence (16-13), Seton Hall (17-12) and St. John’s (16-13).
Seton Hall was thought to have a good chance to make the NCAA field after going 10-3 over its final 13 games. The Pirates travel to Rhode Island (19-10) in the first round. Boston College opens at Fairfield (19-11).
Georgetown will be at Tennessee (17-11) in the opening round. The Volunteers finished 9-7 in the SEC, but were snubbed by the NCAA. Temple (15-15), Georgia Tech (14-14) and Virginia (15-15) were the other teams in the field with the minimum .500 record.
The Big Ten will face off against the Atlantic Coast Conference in the opening round when the Yellow Jackets play host to Ohio State (17-14).
Minnesota (16-12) and Iowa (15-13) also were invited from the Big Ten.
College of Charleston (24-8) had the most wins of the teams in the field and was one of eight schools with 20 or more victories. It will travel to face another 20-win team in the first round, Kent State (21-9).
In addition to Temple and Rhode Island, Richmond (15-13) made it from the Atlantic 10, and Georgia Tech and Virginia were joined by North Carolina (17-15) from the ACC. The Tar Heels will play host to DePaul (16-12) of Conference USA in the first round.
The other 20-win teams were Boston University (20-10), Illinois Chicago (21-8), Valparaiso (20-10) and Louisiana Lafayette (20-8).