By Marty Gordon
North Carolina said no to playing in the National Invitational Tournament while Clemson said yes. The Carolina snub opened up a slot for Virginia Tech in the event for a game against Cincinnati today, Wednesday, March 15.
The 32-team field was revealed Sunday night on ESPNU.
The Hokies (19-14) will be competing in the NIT for the 14th time in program history. The game will tip at 9 p.m. EDT and will be televised on ESPN2. The winner will advance to play the Rutgers-Hofstra winner on March 18 or 19 at the site of the higher seed.
Tech and Cincinnati will square off for the 31st time, but the first time since 1991. The Hokies have an 18-12 advantage in the all-time series.
Tech has compiled a 25-11 record in the tournament, which the Hokies have won twice (1973 and 1995).
The Hokies will be competing in the NIT for the first time since 2016 when they went 1-1. That season, Tech was the No. 3 seed and opened with an 86-81 overtime victory over Princeton in Blacksburg before falling 80-77 to No.-2 seed BYU in Provo, Utah.
Played every year since 1938 – except in 2020 – the NIT has been known for games being played on college campuses in the opening rounds instead of a neutral site with the semifinal and final round being held at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Some changes will be made this year in the tournament, including a new final-round site.
The first three rounds of the tournament will remain on campus sites, but the semifinal and final will no longer be held in New York City. This year, the NIT Final Four will be played at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.