Washington to play Boise State in 1st round of NIT - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Washington to play Boise State in 1st round of NIT

Photo: Washington Athletics Photo: Washington Athletics

By Washington Athletics

SEATTLE – The University of Washington Men's Basketball Team earned a number five seed in the 2018 National Invitational Tournament and will host four-seed Boise State on Wednesday, March 14 at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN3 and broadcast on KOMO 1000AM/FM 97.7.
"This is a great opportunity for our team to continue to play more games, get more practices in and continue to grow in this system and culture we are putting into place here at Washington," said first year head coach Mike Hopkins. "I'm very proud of the hard work they've put in to get to this point and to be rewarded by extending our season is a great chance to keep getting better."
Washington (20-12) earned its first postseason berth since the NIT in 2016 and will be making its ninth NIT appearance in program history (2016, 2013, 2012, 1997, 1996, 1987, 1982, 1980). UW is 7-8 overall in the NIT, 5-1 at home and have advanced to the semifinals once (2012). 
The Huskies earned its first 20-win season since 2011-12 finishing with at 20-12. UW went 9-22 last year and it's the biggest win jump overall since 1936-37 to 1937-38 when the Dawgs went from 15-11 to 29-7 the following year. The Dawgs also posted their biggest jump (eight wins more) in conference play in program history as they went from 2-16 to 10-8.
The Huskies and Boise State have faced off nine times with UW having an 8-1 advantage. The two programs have not met since Dec. 23, 1999.
"Boise State is a team that was on the bubble and was close to getting into the NCAAs this year and they have one of the best players in their league in Chandler Hutchinson," said Hopkins. "You can see that this NIT tournament field is as good as I've seen for an NIT tournament field. You're going to see some great teams, great coaches and some great games."
This will be the fourth time in nine NIT appearances that UW will host a first round game. Typically, the higher seed hosts the first round game but due to Boise State hosting first and second rounds of the NCAA Championships, their arena is unavailable.
"It's going to be another great environment for our fans to come out and support what we're doing with the program here. Our fans and the whole city has so supportive and their energy has helped us in many games already this year and we're excited to give them another chance to see us play at home," added Hopkins.
Should Washington advance, the Dawgs will take on the winner of No. 1 Saint Mary's (Calif.)/No. 8 Southeastern Louisiana.  The higher seeded team hosts the first three rounds until the semifinals and finals which will take place in New York City at Madison Square Garden on March 27 and 29.

The 2018 NIT will feature some experimental rules changes that will be in effect on Wednesday. The game will be divided into four 10-minute quarters as opposed to two 20-minute halves and teams will shoot two free throws beginning with the fifth foul of each quarter. The shot clock will rest to 20 seconds after an offensive rebound instead of the full 30 seconds. 

Additionally the three point line will be extended to match the distance used by FIBA for international competition and the free throw lane will be widened to be consistent with the width used by the NBA. 

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