Alabama, Kentucky No. 1 seeds in NIT; Field of 32 teams announce - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Alabama, Kentucky No. 1 seeds in NIT; Field of 32 teams announced

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Kentucky's John Calipari (left) and Alabama's Anthony Grant will be coaching their respective teams in the 2013 NIT after both the Wildcats and Crimson Tide were left out of the NCAA tournament field. (abc3340.com) Kentucky's John Calipari (left) and Alabama's Anthony Grant will be coaching their respective teams in the 2013 NIT after both the Wildcats and Crimson Tide were left out of the NCAA tournament field. (abc3340.com)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Alabama, Kentucky, Southern Mississippi and Virginia highlight the 32-team National Invitation Tournament field that was released Sunday.

The field features 21 teams with at least 20 wins, 10 automatic qualifiers and representation from 22 of the 31 Division I conferences. First-round play is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, with the second round running March 21-25.

Quarterfinals will be held on March 26 and 27 and four teams will advance to New York City for the semifinals on April 2. The NIT will conclude with the championship game on Thursday, April 4. The semifinal and championships games will be played at New York's historic Madison Square Garden for the 76th year.

First round action, on campus sites, features number one seeds Alabama, Southern Mississippi, and Virginia hosting, Northeastern, Charleston Southern and Norfolk State, respectively. The fourth number one seed, Kentucky, will go on the road to Robert Morris.

Other first round games include Charlotte at Providence, Detroit at Arizona State, Long Beach State at Baylor, Louisiana Tech at Florida State, Washington at BYU, Mercer at Tennessee, Stephen F. Austin at Stanford, Ohio at Denver, Niagara at Maryland, St. John's at Saint Joseph's, Indiana State at Iowa, Stony Brook at Massachusetts.

St. John's is making a record 29th appearance in the National Invitation Tournament while 2012 NIT champion Stanford returns to the field as does 2012 semifinalists Massachusetts and Washington. In all, the 2013 field features seven teams that played in the NIT in 2012.

"Once again, the Committee has come up with an outstanding field of strong teams with outstanding credentials. In addition to the at-large bids we handed out, we're excited to reward 10 regular season conference champions as automatic qualifiers to play in the NIT," commented C.M. Newton, now in his ninth year as chair of the NIT Selection Committee.

NIT games are being televised by ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3.

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