2000 Men's NIT Tournament Preview
March 13, 2000
NEW YORK (AP) - The Atlantic Coast Conference has as many entries in the National Invitation Tournament - three - as it does in the NCAA tournament.
Virginia, North Carolina State and Wake Forest all were chosen by the NIT, which begins play Tuesday night. NC State (17-12) will be at home against Tulane (20-10) to open the event, with Wake Forest (17-14) at Vanderbilt (19-10) also that night.
Virginia (19-11) is home for Georgetown (18-14) on Wednesday night, when 10 games will be held.
The Big East also had four teams invited: the Hoyas, plus Villanova, Notre Dame and Rutgers.
Villanova (19-12) is at home for Delaware (24-7) on Wednesday, the same night the Irish (18-14) are home against Michigan (15-13). The Scarlett Knights (15-15) are at Kent (21-7) on Thursday night.
Other first-round matchups Wednesday feature Princeton (19-10) at Penn State (15-15), Marquette (15-13) at Xavier (20-11), Bowling Green (22-7) at Brigham Young (20-10), New Mexico State (22-9) at Arizona State (18-12), North Carolina Charlotte (17-15) at Mississippi (17-13), South Florida (17-13) at New Mexico (17-13), and Long Beach State (24-5) at California (16-14).
The other games Thursday have Massachusetts (17-15) at Siena (23-8), Southern Illinois (19-12) at Colorado (18-13), and Southern Methodist (21-8) at Southwest Missouri State (22-10).
All games are played at campus sites until the semifinals on March 28 and the finals on March 30 at Madison Square Garden.
"As it played out on Wednesday as I watched our conference tournament, I felt pretty good," Bowling Green coach Dan Dakich said. "But as things kept going on and on and on, I could see us getting squeezed."
The Falcons (22-7) won the Mid-American Conference's East Division, but lost early in the MAC tournament.
"I'm a little shocked except that as I studied it, the upsets kept coming," Dakich said. "The teams like St. Louis, Arkansas and St. Bonaventure had their great runs. I think those bids affect our league."
One coach thrilled to be going to the NIT was Southern Illinois' Bruce Weber.
"This is a positive step for us," he said. "The kids were hungry and they bought into what we wanted."