The NCAA’s National Invitational Tournament (NIT) was cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But with the NIT slated to return this year, how will the NCAA be pulling it off?
And unlike previous years, where the first two rounds are played on campus sites, this year’s tournament will be played at one central location. The Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex will be the host venue for the entirety of the NIT.
“Games will be played at Comerica Center in Frisco, Texas and at UNT Coliseum on the campus of North Texas in Denton, Texas,” the NCAA said. “First-round games will be played Wednesday, March 17, through Saturday, March 20. Quarterfinals also will take place Thursday, March 25. The semifinals and championship will take place Saturday and Sunday, March 27 and 28. 2021 also will feature a third-place game Sunday, March 28, which hasn’t been played at the NIT since 2003. All 16 games of the 2021 NIT will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2.”
The NIT will feature 16 teams, with all games played in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. https://t.co/yazLFF69Jy
— David Worlock (@DavidWorlock) March 1, 2021
In 2019, the last time the NIT was played, there were 10 automatic qualifiers for the tournament from the mid-majors and 22 at-large bids awarded.
However, the NCAA has announced that the NIT will exclusively consist of at-large schools. No automatic bids will be awarded this time around.
“Because of the reduced field size, all 16 teams will be selected as at-large participants, and there will be no automatic qualifiers for the NIT,” the NCAA said.
The 2020 edition of the tournament was cancelled before teams could even finish their conference tournaments due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. But the conferences are determined to play through it this year, so we might get a proper tournament in 2021.
Unfortunately, a few teams are going to be left out in the cold.