USA Today Sports, Matthew OHaren

Indiana awaits its NIT fate this evening

Indiana is likely to receive a bid tonight to the National Invitation Tournament. We'll bring you some of the IU player thoughts on extending the season and the background info you'll want on the NIT.

Tonight Indiana awaits its postseason fate. Nobody expects the Hoosiers to earn an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament this year, but fans will have to wait for that all to play out first. The NCAA Selection Sunday Show on CBS starts at 5:30 p.m. ET and finishes at 7:00 p.m.

Indiana (18-15, 7-11) is widely expected to get a call from the National Invitation Tournament, known as the NIT.  Late wins at Ohio State and Thursday over Iowa at the Big Ten tournament should keep IU's fate from the NIT snub it received two years ago. Non-conference wins over Kansas and North Carolina also should assure Indiana a bid this time around.

NIT selections will be announced beginning at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU. You can also stream it live via WatchESPN.

Last month the Indiana athletic department confirmed its intention to play in the NIT if an offer was extended. After Friday night's loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten tournament, the Hoosiers players made it clear they would like to extend the season.

Leading scorer James Blackmon Jr. addressed the topic in the team locker room.

"I think everyone's attitude is the same as mine, I just want to get better, get back (home), and see what's next," Blackmon Jr. said. "We're just waiting on the next time we're going to play."

The younger Hoosiers were clearly in favor of NIT participation

"We're just going to be happy to play, whatever, NIT, NCAA, it doesn't matter. We just want to look to get better," said freshman De'Ron Davis.

"We want to take any opportunity to keep playing that we can," Devonte Green said, adding that the players had not really discussed it as a team.

NIT schedule

There are 32 teams in the NIT. The semifinals and finals are played in Madison Square Garden in New York on March 28th and 30th. 

Before that there will be three rounds of games played at campuses. Unless there are arena conflicts, those games will be played at the higher seeded team's campus. When selections are announced, there will be eight seeds given out in each of the four regions.

First round games will be played this coming Tuesday and Wednesday. Second around games are scheduled for March 16-20. Quarterfinal or third round games are played March 21 and 22.

Bracketology

The NCAA actually runs the NIT now and a few years ago added a rule that allows for conference champions not making the NCAA tournament to get an automatic bid to the NIT.  That was a contributing factor as to why Indiana did not earn a selection two years ago.

Bracketology for the NIT is tried by a few different web sites. It's not the big business of NCAA bracketology and when you add its dependence on who makes the NCAA, the art of projecting the field is much less accurate.

Nevertheless, below are some more well known sites who have updated projections through yesterday's results. Click on the site name for the full 32 team field prediction.

Bracket Matrix: Indiana as a No. 2 seed playing No. 7 seed Richmond. Winner to get survivor of No. 3 seed Alabama and No. 6 seed Belmont.  The No. 1 seed in the region is Illinois State.

NYC Buckets: Indiana as a No. 3 seed playing No. 6 seed Colorado. Winner to face survivor of No. 2 seed Houston and No. 7 seed UNC Greensboro.

DRatings.com: Indiana as a No. 2 seed. This site only projects seeds, not the opponent. The No. 7 seeds that face No. 2's are Georgia Tech, UNC Asheville, Cal State Bakersfield and UNC Greensboro. 

Comments: If these are reasonably accurate, the drama tonight might be whether Indiana gets a No. 2 or No. 3 seed. That would likely determined whether the Hoosiers would get a home or road game in the second round (if IU wins its first round game).

Of course if you want drama that potential second round game that NYC Buckets projects will bring you plenty. It has a potential second round game where Indiana goes to Houston to play Kelvin Sampson's team (with former Hoosier Devin Davis).


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