Cougars Snatch NIT Bid

March 15, 2009

PULLMAN, Wash. - The Washington State University men's basketball team will take on St. Mary's in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT), the organization announced Sunday evening.

The Cougars are the seventh seed in the San Diego State region and will hit the road to face the second-seeded Gaels, Tuesday, March 17 at 8 p.m. PDT in Moraga, Calif. live on ESPN2.

This is the fourth NIT bid for the Cougars as they last participated in the tournament in 1996. The school's best showing in the tournament came in 1995 when the Cougars appeared in the quarterfinals.

The San Diego State region of the tournament bracket includes, a matchup between South Carolina and Davidson, with the winner facing the winner of WSU-St. Mary's game. Top-seeded San Diego State takes on Weber State and the winner awaits either Kansas State or Illinois State.

The other three No. 1 seeds are Auburn, Creighton and Florida.

The Auburn region, whose winner will face the team coming out of the San Diego State region, features Virginia Tech and a potential rematch for WSU in Baylor.

Kentucky, New Mexico and Notre Dame join Creighton as host teams in the first round of their region.

Three teams, including the No. 1 seeded Gators, hail from Florida in the final region. Florida hosts Jacksonville in the first round while fourth-seeded Miami (Fla.) takes on Providence. Niagara and Penn State also host first-round games in the region.

The first three rounds will be played at the campus site of the higher seeds. The semifinals and finals of the NIT will be played at Madison Square Garden in New York, March 31 and April 2.

WSU is the only Pac-10 team to make the field of 32.

Washington State Head Coach Tony Bennett will be conducting a teleconference Sunday evening at 8 p.m. PDT. The number to call is 509-335-4700 and the meeting ID# is 97826847.

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