BYU basketball: Cougars to host Washington in NIT
Provo • Their streak of six consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament snapped on Selection Sunday, the BYU Cougars got a consolation prize a few hours later: an at-large bid to the 76th National Invitation Tournament.
The Cougars (21-11) earned a No. 3 seed in the 2013 NIT and will play host to 18-15 Washington on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., in the Marriott Center. The game will be televised by ESPN.
"It is more excitement for our guys," said Washington coach Lorenzo Romar, whose team won three NIT games last year and reached the semifinals in New York before falling to Minnesota. "I think our guys will embrace it a lot sooner [this year]."
If BYU wins, it will most likely host a second-round game later in the week. That's because No. 2 Tennessee has said it cannot host a second-round game if it defeats No. 7 Mercer on Tuesday. The Vols' arena is tied up because they are hosting the women's NCAA Tournament later in the week. Southern Mississippi is the region's top seed.
Washington is led by former Pleasant Grove High star C.J. Wilcox, who averages 16.7 points per game. Wilcox's father, Craig, played at BYU from 1993-95 under coach Roger Reid.
The Huskies tied for sixth in the Pac-12 with a 9-9 record and defeated Washington State in the first round of the conference tournament before being ousted by eventual champion Oregon.
It will be BYU's school-record eighth straight postseason appearance. The Cougars played in the NIT in 2006, coach Dave Rose's first season. They lost 77-67 at Houston in the first round. They are 12-8 in NIT games, having won the tournament in 1951 and 1966.
The Cougars and Huskies last met on the hardwood in 1997, with Washington taking a 83-68 win in Provo. Washington is 10-8 all-time against the Cougars.
The first three rounds of the NIT are hosted at the campus site of one of the participating teams. The semifinals are at Madison Square Garden in NYC and will be played on April 2.
BYU vs. Washington
P Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.
TV • ESPN
• Huskies went 18-15, lost in the Pac-12 quarterfinals 80-70 to eventual champion Oregon
• Last played BYU in 1997, defeating the Cougars 83-68 in 1997
• Led by shooting guard C.J. Wilcox, a Pleasant Grove High grad whose father, Craig, played for BYU
• Made it to the NIT semifinals last year in New York before losing to Minnesota