Tulsa selected to play in NIT

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Golden Hurricanes take on Kent State March 17

Tulsa will play Kent State University in the first round of the NIT on Wednesday, March 17th at 7:00 p.m. Tulsa has a 23-11 mark this year, the fourth straight 20-win season for the Hurricane. Kent State won the Mid-American Conference regular season championship with a 13-3 conference mark, while posting an overall 23-9 record. 

Kent State lost to the MAC Tournament Champion, Ohio, in the quarterfinals of the league tournament, 81-64 last Thursday. Tulsa won two games in the Conference USA Tournament coming against Rice and Marshall, before losing to C-USA regular season champion UTEP in the semifinals.

The two teams have played two common opponents this year. Kent defeated UAB, Tulsa's fellow C-USA member, in the second game of the season, 72-65, and posted a 2-1 record against MAC member Ohio. Tulsa defeated another MAC member, Ohio, at home earlier this season, 81-80, and lost at UAB, 65-55. This is the first-ever meeting between Tulsa and Kent State.

It's the 26th appearance in postseason play for the Golden Hurricane, and the 10th showing in the NIT for the two-time champion of the tournament. The Hurricane has won the NIT title two times in the history of the tournament, capturing wins over Pan American, UTEP, South Alabama, West Virginia and Syracuse in the championship game of the 1981 tournament. Twenty years later, Tulsa won the NIT crown with a title game victory, 79-60, over Alabama in 2001, after wins over UC Irvine, Minnesota, Mississippi State and Memphis.

Tulsa is making its second straight trip to the NIT. Last year, the Hurricane captured a 68-59 home win over Northwestern, but fell to Auburn in the second round on the road, 74-55.

The postseason appearance is the third consecutive for Tulsa as the Hurricane won the inaugural College Basketball Invitational (CBI) Championship in 2008.

The winner of the Tulsa-Kent State contest will play the Illinois (19-14)-Stony Brook (22-9) winner.