No. 1 Seeded SMU Hosts UC Irvine In First Round Of NIT On Wednesday At 8 p.m. CT
March 16, 2014
INDIANAPOLIS - The [25/23] SMU men's basketball team received a No. 1 seed in the 2014 National Invitation Tournament and will face 8th-seeded UC Irvine on Wednesday at Moody Coliseum, the tournament committee announced on Sunday night. SMU and UC Irvine will tip at 8 p.m. CT on Wednesday on ESPN2. Tickets for Wednesday's game will go on sale Monday morning on SMUMustangs.com.
SMU earned its 15th postseason trip, and its third bid to the NIT on Sunday night, with its two previous NIT visits coming in 1986 and 2000.
The Mustangs enter the tournament with a 23-9 record, its most since the 1987-88 campaign (28 wins). SMU was 4-3 against ranked opponents in the regular season, its first season with four wins over ranked opponents since SMU defeated four in the 1955-56 season. The Mustangs went 4-5 against teams that earned berths in the 2014 NCAA Championships. SMU got as high as No. 18 in the nation in both polls this season, marking its first spot in the AP Poll since 1985, and its first trip in the USA Today Coaches' Poll in program history.
SMU finished the regular season with a 15-1 home record, including a 9-1 mark in the renovated Moody Coliseum. The Mustangs sold out seven games, including each of the last six.
UC Irvine won the Big West regular season title (13-3) and enters the NIT with a 23-11 record.
On Feb. 27, SMU head coach Larry Brown was named a finalist for the Henry Iba National Coach of the Year award given by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. Brown was named the District VII Coach of the Year by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association on March 11.
SMU finished conference play in the inaugural season of the American Athletic Conference with 12 wins, its most conference wins since it had 12 in the Southwest Conference in 1992-93. SMU's third place finish was the program's best since finishing third in the 2002-03 Western Athletic Conference standings.
The winner of the SMU and UC Irvine will take on the winner of No. 4 San Francisco and No. 5 LSU in the second round of the NIT (Friday-Monday).