After the 68-team field for the NCAA Tournament is announced, the National Invitational Tournament selects its 32 participants. While the NIT is not on the same level as the NCAA Tournament, it is nothing to sneeze at, either. The Final Four of the NIT is played at the famed Madison Square Garden and offers a consolation prize for teams that didn't make the big dance.
The higher-seeded team typically hosts NIT games leading up to the Final Four, but top-seed Kentucky has to hit the road because Rupp Arena is in use for the NCAA Tournament. The other top seeds, Virginia, Alabama, and Southern Mississippi, as well as every other higher seeded team, host their first round games.
All first-round games take place on Tuesday, March 19 and Wednesday, March 20. The schedule for the first round is listed below, all times Eastern. For the complete bracket, click here.
Tuesday, March 19
No. 7 Niagra at No. 2 Maryland - 7 p.m., ESPN2
No. 5 St. John's at No. 4 St. Joseph's - 7 p.m., ESPNU
No. 5 Louisiana Tech at No. 4 Florida St. - 7:15, ESPN3
No. 1 Kentucky at No. 8 Robert Morris - 7:30 p.m., ESPN
No. 8 Northeastern at No. 1 Alabama - 9 p.m., ESPN2
No. 8 Norfolk St. at No. 1 Virginia - 9 p.m., ESPNU
No. 6 Ohio at No. 3 Denver - 9:15 p.m., ESPN3
No. 6 Washington St. at No. 3 BYU - 9:30 p.m., ESPN
No. 5 Stephen F. Austin at No. 4 Stanford - 11 p.m., ESPN2
Wednesday, March 20
No. 6 Indiana St. at No. 3 Iowa - 7 p.m., ESPN2
No. 7 Stony Brook at No. 2 UMass - 7:15 p.m., ESPN3
No. 5 Charlotte at No. 4 Providence - 7:15 p.m., ESPN3
No. 7 Mercer at No. 2 Tennessee - 8 p.m., ESPNU
No. 7 Long Beach St. at No. 2 Baylor - 9 p.m., ESPN2
No. 8 Charleston Southern at No. 1 Southern Mississippi - 9:15 p.m., ESPN3
No. 5 Detroit at No. 4 Arizona St. - 10 p.m., ESPNU