WMU Accepts NIT Bid

The Western Michigan University men's basketball team has accepted an invite to the National Invitation Tournament, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Kathy Beauregard announced Sunday evening.

The Broncos will host Illinois-Chicago on Wednesday, March 19 at 7 p.m. at University Arena. The Flames own a 21-8 overall record and were defeated by Horizon League champion UW-Milwaukee 75-73 in the tournament semifinals on March 8.

The game will mark the first-ever postseason contest hosted by Western Michigan. The WMU/UIC winner will play the Villanova/Siena winner in the second round.

"We are obviously very excited about the invitation," Beauregard said. "The University, fans and program deserve the recognition associated with postseason play."

The Broncos are making their first appearance in the NIT since the 1991-92 campaign. That year, WMU finished 21-9 and was defeated 63-56 at Notre Dame in the opening round of the event. The program has made the postseason on just four occasions since its inception in 1913-14, twice participating in NCAA Tournaments (1975-76, 1997-98) as well as a pair of NIT bids.

"I am extremely happy for our players and our program," head coach Robert McCullum said. "The program has made tremendous strides over the course of the past three seasons and this is one of the rewards that comes from the improvement. There are a large number of people who made this possible."

The invitation comes on the three-year anniversary of the hiring of McCullum, who accepted the job on March 16, 2000.

Western Michigan owns an overall record of 19-10, the fourth-highest win total in school history. The squad finished 10-8 in the Mid-American Conference for the second-straight year and also advanced to the tournament quarterfinals for the first time since 1996-97.

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