*Courtesy Alabama Media Relations*
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The University of Alabama men’s basketball team earned a No. 5 seed in the 2016 National Invitation Tournament and will travel to Omaha, Neb., take on the No. 4 seed Creighton Bluejays on Tuesday, March 15, in the opening round of the event. The Tide and the Bluejays will tip off at 8 p.m. CT on ESPN.
“We’re excited for the opportunity to participate in the NIT,” head coach Avery Johnson said. “Obviously, coming into this season, there weren’t many people picking us to participate in any postseason. We defied the odds all year. We played pretty good basketball all season in a tough Southeastern Conference and challenged ourselves with a tough non-conference schedule. Because of that and the 18 wins for us this year, we are fortunate enough to play in the NIT vs. an outstanding Creighton team. Creighton has a terrific home court advantage and a hostile environment. It’s an opportunity for our team to get more basketball education in what will be a meaningful postseason game.”
The Crimson Tide earned one of 17 at-large spots in the 32-team field by virtue of its 18-14 regular-season record during the regular season, which included wins over four nationally-ranked teams.
The Tide’s first-round opponent, Creighton, finished the season with an 18-14 overall record and a 9-9 mark in Big East play.
Creighton and Alabama only met one time in series history which also came in the postseason. The only other meeting came back on March 16, 2012 in the NCAA Tournament Midwest Region second round. The Bluejays captured a 58-57 victory over the Tide in that contest.
UA is making its 14th NIT appearance in school history, which leads SEC schools. Tennessee, which made its last NIT appearance in 2013, is second with 13. Alabama is 24-16 (.600) all-time in the event. The 24 victories gives the Tide the most NIT wins among SEC schools, surpassing South Carolina’s 21 wins in NIT play.
The winner of Tuesday’s game will face the victor of Wednesday night’s game between No. 1 seed St. Bonaventure and No. 8 seed Wagner at a time and date to be determined.
In addition to St. Bonaventure, the other NIT No. 1 seeds include Valparaiso, South Carolina and Monmouth.
Alabama is one of seven SEC teams to earn a berth in either the NCAA Tournament or NIT. Joining the Crimson Tide in the NIT is South Carolina, Florida and Georgia, while Texas A&M, Kentucky and Vanderbilt each earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
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