The Utes will host an opening round NIT game for the second straight season, this time they’ll match up with UC Davis out of the Big West.
Utah, the second seed on its side of the bracket, found out its NIT pairing on Sunday evening when the bracket and 32-team field were revealed live on ESPNU. Utah (19-11, 11-7) will play at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Jon M. Huntsman Center.
The Utes will have now followed back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances with their second consecutive appearance in the NIT, their third since the 2013-14 season. The Utes will make their fifth consecutive postseason appearance.
They remained on the bubble for an NCAA Tournament at-large bid up until they failed to advance past the quarterfinals of this past week’s Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas. The Utes ranked 58th in Div. I in RPI through Saturday’s games.
Other Pac-12 teams joining the Utes in the NIT field include USC, Oregon, Stanford and Washington. Rival BYU also earned an NIT selection. The Utes and BYU could not meet until the tournament semifinals.
UC Davis (22-10, 12-4) finished first in the Big West during the regular season and went 1-1 in its conference tournament with the loss coming to eventual tournament champion Cal State Fullerton in the semifinals.
The Utes and Aggies will meet for the third time in their history. The Utes have won both previous meetings, the most recent coming in 2013. Both meetings have taken place in Salt Lake City.
The Utes, who were projected to finish seventh in the Pac-12, finished the regular season tied for third and earned the No. 3 seed in the Pac-12 tournament through tiebreakers over UCLA and Stanford. However, they lost to Oregon 68-66 in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament on Thursday night — the second straight year suffering a loss in their first tournament game after earning a top-four seed.
Last season, the Utes placed fourth in the conference and lost a three-point game to California in the conference tournament. They then lost to Boise State in the first round of the NIT in the Huntsman Center.