Well, on Sunday evening, we were met with the hard cold reality that was Marquette Golden Eagles being left out of the 2018 NCAA tournament. That reality got a little more real when the Selection Show announced that Marquette wasn’t even one of the official First Four teams left out of the 68 team Big Dance.
Well, that news got a little bit less lousy later on in the evening when the NIT bracket was announced, and Marquette was inserted as the #2 seed in one of the four regions, giving them a first round game with #7 seed Harvard Crimson.
That game will be played at the Al McGuire Center on Marquette’s campus on Wednesday night, with first tip scheduled for 6pm Central.
"We have a chance to keep playing and a chance to win a championship, which is an awesome thing to be a part of."— MarquetteMBB (@MarquetteMBB) March 12, 2018
Watch @steve_wojo talk about the opportunity to play in the 2018 NIT. #mubb pic.twitter.com/PO6lmtEIDb
Harvard went 18-13 this season, but finished with a 12-2 record in the Ivy League, finishing in a tie for first place with Penn. The Crimson earned the #1 seed in the Ivy League tournament, but the Quakers came away with the 68-65 victory in the championship game, sending the Crimson to Milwaukee to continue their season.
Tommy Amaker is in his 11th season as head coach at Harvard, compiling a record of 211-115 and qualifying for the NCAA tournament four times. This will be his second appearance in the NIT with the Crimson and seventh overall. Amaker won an NIT title in 2004 with Michigan and fell in the championship game in 2006 while in charge of the Wolverines as well.
You can’t help but wonder if the NIT bracketeers made sure to pair Harvard and Marquette together, as both Amaker and Steve Wojciechowski are former Duke players and former Duke assistants. In fact, Amaker was an assistant at Duke for Wojo’s first three years as a player.
If Marquette wins, they’ll advance to a second round matchup with either Oregon or Rider. As the #2 seed in their part of the bracket, the Golden Eagles will be able to host every game up until the quarterfinals, when they may have to visit #1 seeded Notre Dame.
The NIT will be played with experimental rules this season, including 10 minute quarters, extending the three-point arc by 20 inches to the FIBA length, widening the free throw lane to the same size as the NBA, and the shot clock resetting to 20 after an offensive rebound.
Tickets for the game will go on sale to the general public at 4pm Central on Monday, so keep your eyes and ears open for the details on that.
You can check out the full NIT bracket right here.