Provo • For the 13th time in coach Dave Rose’s 13-year tenure, BYU will participate in one of the top two postseason college basketball tournaments.
BYU received an invitation to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) on Sunday as a No. 6 seed and will play at No. 3 seed Stanford (18-15) on Wednesday at 8 p.m. MDT on ESPNU.
The winner of the BYU-Stanford game will play the winner of a game pitting No. 2 seed Oklahoma State (19-14) and No. 7 seed Florida Gulf Coast (23-11). USC, UNC-Asheville, Western Kentucky and Boston College are also in the “upper right” bracket of the 32-team NIT.
The Cougars (24-10) knew they wouldn’t make it to the NCAA Tournament after they lost 74-54 to No. 6 Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference championship game. They weren’t even on the tournament bubble.
But after not seeing their name during the NCAA’s Selection Sunday, they received their third straight invitation to the NIT, and fourth in six years.
This is the first time since the 1999-2000 season that BYU has missed the NCAA Tournament for three straight seasons. In Rose’s 13 seasons, BYU has been to the NCAA Tournament eight times and the NIT five times.
BYU was seen as a likely NIT participant for the third straight year after falling to the Zags in Las Vegas because it upset No. 20 Saint Mary’s in the semifinals for its 24th win and was top 70 in most computer rating systems. But there were some scary moments as teams that won their regular-season conference titles were upset in their conference tournaments and given automatic NIT bids.
BYU’s WCC mate, Saint Mary’s, did not receive an NCAA at-large bid and was also sent to the NIT. The Gaels received a No. 1 seed and will open against Southeastern Louisiana.
Stanford tied for third in the Pac-12 at 11-7 and is led in scoring and rebounding by Reid Travis, who averages 19.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.
The Cardinal last hosted BYU in 2013 in an ESPN Tip-off Marathon game that the Cougars won 112-103 at Maples Pavilion. The Cardinal are coached by Jerod Haase, who was Alabama-Birmingham’s coach when BYU beat the Blazers in an NIT opening-round game in 2016.
It will be BYU’s 14th appearance in the NIT. The Cougars are 18-11 all-time in the tournament and won NIT titles in 1951 and 1966.