The winner of Wednesday's contest advances to take on the winner of the game between top-seeded Boston College and eighth-seeded McNeese State.
Milwaukee, the regular-season champion of the Horizon League, is 19-13 overall and went 13-5 in conference play. The Panthers won nine of their last 10 regular-season game and then defeated Valparaiso in the semifinal round of the Horizon League tournament before falling to Butler at home in the championship game.
Northwestern (18-13, 7-11 Big Ten) is making its school-record third consecutive postseason appearance. The Wildcats defeated Minnesota in the opening round of the Big Ten tournament before dropping an overtime heartbreaker to No. 1 Ohio State in the quarterfinals.
It is the sixth NIT appearance for Northwestern. The last time the Wildcats hosted an NIT game was March 16, 1994 when it defeated DePaul 69-68.
Northwestern won the only previous meeting between the schools 80-44 Dec. 14, 1998 in Evanston.