March 16, 2014
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - Boston University will host Big Ten member Illinois in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) at Agganis Arena on Wednesday at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.
The Terriers (24-10), who won the regular-season title in the Patriot League with a 15-3 record, earned a No. 7 seed in their NIT bracket and will take on the No. 2 Fighting Illini (19-14). Boston University will host the game because of renovations taking place at State Farm Center in Champaign, the home of the Illini.
Boston University will be making its sixth appearance in the NIT, and first since going in three straight seasons from 2003-05. The Terriers also appeared in 1980 and 1986, and are 0-5 in their NIT contests. Each of the previous five contests was played on the road as BU hosts a postseason game for the first time since 2010 when it defeated Morehead State during the quarterfinals of the College Basketball Invitational (CBI). The Terriers are in the postseason for the fourth time in five years, previously appearing in the CBI (2010), NCAA Tournament (2011) and CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT) (2013).
While the Terriers have yet to win an NIT game, they will try to continue an impressive history for the Patriot League in the event. Three Patriot League schools have earned NIT berths, and all three won their first-round game. The most recent came just two years ago when Bucknell was a No. 8 seed and won 65-54 at top-seed Arizona. Holy Cross defeated Notre Dame 78-73 in 2005, while Fordham won 76-66 over South Florida in the Patriot League's inaugural season in 1991. Each of the three Patriot League teams fell in their second-round contest.
Patriot League teams are 0-2 all-time against Illinois, with the most recent matchup coming when Colgate fell to the Illini last season. It will be the first NIT matchup between the Patriot League and the Big Ten.
One of 13 automatic qualifiers in the 32-team bracket, BU will face Illinois for the first time in program history. The Fighting Illini enter the NIT as a No. 2 seed after finishing tied-for-eighth in the Big Ten standings at 7-11 and receiving an at-large bid to the postseason tournament.
For the full NIT bracket, go here