For college basketball fans across the country, Selection Sunday might as well be a national holiday. People pack living rooms, bars, dorms and arenas to see where their team could potentially end up in the NCAA Tournament. However, not every can get in, and for those teams that are left out of the big dance, they will need to switch over to ESPN to watch the NIT Selection Show.
The NIT is essentially the little brother to the NCAA Tournament, and can end up being very polarizing. Often times, up-and-coming programs use the NIT as a stepping stone to success in the NCAA Tournament (UConn won the NIT in 1988, and was a #1 seed in the 1990 NCAA Tournament), while established programs sometimes refuse to participate (Like LSU this year).
Regardless of who decides to play in it, this is how it works.
- 32 teams make the field
- Teams that won their conference's regular season championship, but failed to win the conference tournament are automatically invited.
- The teams that are listed as the "First Four Out" by the NCAA Selection Committee are the four #1 seeds in the tournament.
- The remaining slots are "at-large" bids.
- Games are played on the home court of the higher-seeded team, up until the semifinals and finals, which are played at Madison Square Garden
- All games are shown on an ESPN Network, either on cable or streamed to ESPN 3.