Two Local Teams Likely Headed For NIT
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The college basketball regular season is wrapping up and some teams in the state of Utah are on the bubble of the NCAA Tournament and others have a possibility to play in the National Invitational Tournament. Some teams could participate in the CIT or CBI and two teams are fighting for the Big Dance or the NIT.
Last season, Utah State didn’t play in any postseason tournament as they finished with a 17-17 record. The Utes lost to Penn State in the NIT championship game to end their 23-12 season.
BYU lost to Stanford in the first round of the NIT last year and finished the season with 24 wins. Utah Valley lost in the second round of the College Basketball Invitational Tournament to cap a 23-win season.
Both Weber State and Southern Utah did not participate in a postseason tournament.
DRatings.com has posted their projections for not only the NCAA Tournament but for the NIT.
The NIT takes the teams who win their conference regular season title but don’t make it to the NCAA Tournament, so things can change as Selection Sunday approaches.
Here is where they have the local college basketball teams slated as they head down the home stretch of the regular season.
Utah State Aggies
DRatings.com has the Aggies in the NCAA Tournament as one of the “Last Four In” and Joe Lunardi of ESPN, has them in as the last four as well, facing Arizona State in the play-in game. Utah State faced Arizona State earlier this year in the MGM Resorts Main Event as they lost to the Sun Devils 87-82 on November 21.
That loss was Utah State’s first of the season after starting the season 6-0 before the ASU game.
Utah State has two games remaining on their schedule, playing against No. 12 Nevada on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network and traveling to Colorado State on Tuesday at 7 p.m. on AT&T SportsNet.
The second seed is the lowest that the Aggies will have entering the Mountain West Conference Tournament in Las Vegas. They have a chance to snatch the No. 1 spot from Nevada with a win in Logan.
DRatings.com has two Mountain West Conference teams in the NCAA Tournament and Fresno State in the NIT.
The Cougars are not on the bubble watch for the NCAA Tournament but is almost a lock for the NIT if they don’t win the West Coast Conference Tournament. DRatings.com has the Cougars as a No. 5-seed in the NIT bracketology.
BYU will play their final regular season game on Saturday against San Diego at the Marriott Center at 7 p.m. on BYUtv and KSL Newsradio. They will receive either the No. 3-seed or No.4 slot in the WCC tournament depending on the results of the San Francisco game.
ESPN has Gonzaga as a No. 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament and DRatings.com has two other schools in the WCC in the NIT, which includes St. Mary’s and San Francisco.
Utah Valley Wolverines
The Wolverines are currently in second place in the Western Athletic Conference standings. They have three games left on their regular season schedule that includes their final road game at California Baptist on Saturday at 8 p.m. on the WAC Digital Network. They will host Grand Canyon on Thursday at 7 p.m. and CSU Bakersfield on Saturday, March 9 at 7 p.m. Both games can bee seen on the KSL TV app.
DRatings.com has the Wolverines in the NIT as a No. 6-seed and they are the only WAC team in the tournament.
The Utes will need to pile up some wins to end their regular season. It will be crucial to win the final three games and one or two games in the Pac-12 Tournament. DRatings.com currently doesn’t have Utah in the NIT.
Utah will face Colorado on the road on Saturday at 4 p.m. on ESPNU. They will wrap up their regular season at home on Thursday against USC at 8 p.m. on FS1 and against UCLA on Saturday, March 9 at 5 p.m. on the Pac-12 Network.
The Utes are currently in fourth place in the Pac-12 standings but could climb up to No. 2 or drop all the way to No. 6 depending on their results.
Weber State Wildcats
The Wildcats are struggling with two straight losses and three of their last four games. They are currently in third place in the Big Sky Conference. That’s the highest seed they can get when conference tournament play rolls around.
The CIT or CBI tournaments do not release any projections, but those are likely destinations for Weber State if they don’t win their conference tournament.
Weber State will travel to Idaho State on Monday at 7 p.m. on Pluto TV channel 243. They will face Idaho at home on Thursday at 7 p.m. and Eastern Washington on Saturday, March 9 at 7 p.m. Both games in Ogden will be broadcast on Pluto TV channel 235.
Southern Utah Thunderbirds
The Thunderbirds have had a great season as they have already won the most conference games since joining the Big Sky. They are currently in fifth place. The CIT or CBI is unknown but they have a chance for the NCAA Tournament if they can get hot in the conference tournament.
Southern Utah will face Montana at 7 p.m. on Saturday and will finish their two game road trip against Montana State on Monday at 7 p.m. They will play their regular season finale at home against Northern Colorado on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.