Q:

How does the NIT tournament selection work?

A:

Quick Answer

The National Invitation Tournament of the NCAA automatically invites any regular-season conference champion that is not chosen for the NCAA tournament. A committee them selects the rest of its 32-team field by inviting the best available teams not selected for the NCAA tournament.

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Full Answer

Teams are seeded 1 through 8 and placed into regions. The committee determines seeding by ranking all the teams and assigning no. 1 seeds to the four best teams, no. 2 seeds to the next four best and so on. Regions are then established based on the campus locations of the top-seeded teams. The remaining teams are placed based on geographic proximity to the other teams in the region.

These seeds determine the match-ups for the entire tournament. In the tournament's opening round, the no. 1 seeds play the no. 8 seeds, the no. 2 seeds play the no. 7 seeds, the no. 3 seeds play the no. 6 seeds and the no. 4 seeds play the no. 5 seeds. Play continues in the second round with the no. 1-no. 8 winner playing the no. 4-no. 5 winner and the no. 3-no. 6 winner playing the no. 2-no. 7 winner. The third round matches up the two remaining teams in each region.

The first three rounds are played on campus sites. The higher-seeded team in each match-up has the option to host the game, though occasionally the higher seed has to play on the road if its arena is not available. The semifinals and championship game are played in New York at Madison Square Garden.

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