Going into Selection Sunday a little over a week ago, BC’s only hope of making the field of 68 was for the selection committee to blow a 0.25 on a breathalyzer and make some horrendous decisions. Well that worked out pretty good for USC, UAB, and VCU (because nobody had them in the Sweet Sixteen at the time). The Eagles earned a 1 seed to the NIT which is short for National Invitation Tournament, but could really also stand for “Not Invited Tournament”.
A few quick facts on the “Not Invited Tournament”:
1. Its older than the NCAA Tournament itself
2. It consists of a field of 32 teams with games played at campus sites (hosted by higher seed with some exceptions), except for the semifinals and finals. Those are played in NYC at Madison Square Garden.
3. Teams that win their conference’s regular season title but fail to capture the auto-bid to the NCAA Tournament in the conference tourney earn an auto-bid to the NIT. This generally only applies to non-BCS conferences as the big conferences earn a lion’s share of the at-larges.
BC drew the Southland Conference regular season champ McNeese State in the first round of the NIT and beat them soundly 82-64. If any more evidence is needed to show why the “Not Invited Tournament” is clearly a consolation prize consider this: Boston College was one of four #1 NIT seeds along with Colorado, Alabama, and of course Virginia Tech. All three of those schools hosted their first round NIT matchup. McNeese State, the #8 NIT seed, hosted this game because the Conte Forum was already booked.
The season officially ended with a 85-67 drubbing by #4 NIT seed Northwestern, a program that should know a thing or two about playing in consolation tournaments as they are the only BCS school to have never reached the NCAAs.
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Written by Christopher Ferrick-Manley