Cougs' road to New York starts vs. Long Beach

THERE IS NO Big Dance for Washington State's Cougars this season but there is hope for the Big Apple. The National Invitation Tournament, which culminates with a final four at Madison Square Garden, picked the Cougs as a No. 2 seed in the 32-team field. They'll tip off in Pullman in round one Wednesday at 7 p.m. against Long Beach State.

Long Beach State, a No. 7 seed, was 22-12 this season. They are coached by former Gonzaga and Minnesota coach Dan Monson. They won the Big West regular-season crown but were downed over the weekend by UC-Santa Barbara in the conference tournament title game.

The 49ers played two of the same teams this season that WSU did -- Washington and Arizona State -- and lost both.

Here's a link to the official NIT bracket breakdown.

During the NIT selection show, ESPN commentator Miles Simon predicted Washington State to make the final four with Colorado, New Mexico and Virginia Tech. He picked the Buffs to win it all.

Colorado and Virginia Tech are No. 1 seeds. The other two No. 1s in the tourney are Boston College and Alabama.

California, a No. 4 seed, is the only Pac-10 team other than WSU to make the field of 32.

The Cougars finished the regular season at 19-12 after an 89-87 heartstopping loss to Washington in the Pac-10 tournament on Thursday.

Following their ouster in the Pac-10 tournament on Thursday, Athletic Director Bill Moos said if the Cougars were selected as a high seed this year in the NIT, WSU would definitely choose the option to host.

And should WSU win their first round game on Wednesday (7 p.m. TV: ESPNU), they would be given the option to host the second round game between Wazzu and the winner of Oklahoma State (3 seed) and Harvard (6 seed).

For tickets to Wednesday's game in Pullman CLICK HERE

Run by the NCAA with four regions of eight teams, the games are played at campus sites through the quarterfinals, with higher seed having option to host. Semifinals and championship are at Madison Square Garden in New York.

TV: ESPN networks.

March 15-16: First round
March 18-21: Second round
March 22-23: Quarterfinals
March 29: Semifinals
March 31: Championship

NOTABLE: In the 1990s, WSU made three NIT appearances around one trip to March Madness. The 1995 Cougs advanced to the quarterfinals of the NIT. WSU's last trip was in 2009 when they lost in round one to St. Mary's.


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