The NIT Preseason Tip-Off, set to be held Nov. 21 and 23, is only one team away from completion. The problem is, though, that tournament officials are having a hard time filling the final spot and it could end up being filled with a Division II team.
As it stands now, there are 15 teams and four host schools, according to Eamonn Brennan of ESPN.com, with the pairings looking as such:
Host 1: Kansas State
Others at Site: North Texas, Lamar, D-II School Yet to Be Added
Host 2: Pitt
Others at Site: Fordham, Robert Morris, Lehigh
Host 3: Michigan
Others at Site: Bowling Green, Cleveland State, IUPUI
Host 4: Virginia
Others at Site: Penn, Fairfield, Delaware
After games are played at those local host sites, the tournament moves to Madison Square Garden for semifinal and final games.
Of the host teams, likely preseason top-10 Michigan should have little resistance in its push for New York, featuring incoming freshmen Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III, along with returning guard Trey Burke.
Virginia should also advance, as well as Jamie Dixon’s Pitt Panthers. Keep in mind, though, that Pittsburgh will be without guard Ashton Gibbs, who has now graduated.
As for the first host school, Kansas State, they face a tough opponent in North Texas and also have to deal with Pat Knight’s Lamar squad. North Texas, led by star sophomore Tony Mitchell, won’t make it too easy for the Wildcats to make it to New York.