BLACKSBURG, Va. – Virginia Tech will participate in the 2011 Dick’s Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off, announced today by NIT selection committee chair C.M. Newton. The Hokies, the fourth seed in the tournament, will open the event at Cassell Coliseum against Monmouth, while George Mason and Florida International will compete in the other game in the doubleheader.
“We are very excited to host one of the pods of the NIT,” head coach Seth Greenberg said. “The three teams that will be coming to Blacksburg will all have unique storylines. Isiah Thomas, who has won NCAA and NBA Championships, is the coach of Florida International, Paul Hewitt, taking on a new challenge at George Mason with an outstanding returning nucleus and King Rice, former UNC point guard, leading Monmouth in his first season.”
The first- and second-round doubleheaders will be played November 14-16 on the campuses of the four highest-seeded teams-- Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Oklahoma State and Stanford. The winners of the preliminary rounds advance to the semifinals, which take place in New York City’s Madison Square Garden November 23. The consolation and championship games will be played November 25.
The remaining teams will play third- and fourth-round doubleheaders November 21-22 on the campuses of the three highest remaining seeds. Participating teams will not play any team twice, and the third- and fourth-rounds will be assigned to the most geographically compatible site.
“Once again, the NIT Season Tip-Off field is outstanding,” said Newton, a member of the Naismith Hall of Fame who is in his seventh year as chair of the NIT. “This year, we have two former champions with Syracuse (1988, 2001) and Oklahoma State (1991) along with teams that have experienced success in the postseason. There is also a good number of young clubs on the rise. This tournament has been an early showcase of the best in college basketball, and many times you see our teams competing deep in the NCAA Championships come March.”
The North Regional will take place at Syracuse, where the Orange will host Manhattan and Albany squares off against Brown. The East Regional will be held on the campus of Virginia Tech and the Hokies will meet Monmouth, with George Mason facing Florida International. The Midwest Regional will be played at Oklahoma State, with the Cowboys taking on Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Oral Roberts battling Texas-San Antonio. Stanford is the host team in the West Regional and will play Fresno State in one half of the doubleheader, while Colorado State takes on SMU.
ESPN will provide coverage throughout the event, televising games on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3.com. Games on ESPN and ESPN2 will be simulcast on ESPN3.com.
For updates on Virginia Tech men's basketball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_MBBall).