Moments after the men’s and women’s NCAA Tournament brackets were revealed, National Invitational Tournament officials were on the phone, calling the next best teams that didn’t make the 64-team NCAA field.
BYU, under first-year head coach Amber Whiting, accepted an invite to the women’s NIT.
The Cougars (16-16, 9-9 WCC) will play Rice (22-8, 13-7 CUSA) in Provo on Friday at 7 p.m. MDT. Should BYU advance, it would play the winner of Oregon and North Dakota State.
BYU’s Lauren Gustin, who leads the NCAA in rebounds per game with 16.6, is also averaging 16 points per game. Rice is led by Ashlee Austin, who averages 12.5 points per game.
Utah Valley (25-8, 15-3 WAC) is in the men’s NIT and will travel to play No. 2-seeded New Mexico (22-11, 8-10 MWC) in Albuquerque on Wednesday at 8 p.m. MDT. The Wolverines were the WAC regular-season champions, but lost to Southern Utah in the WAC tournament semifinals.
The Wolverines are led by Le’Tre Darthard, who averages 14.2 points per game for UVU., while New Mexico is led by Jamal Mashburn Jr., who is putting up 19.5 points per game for the Lobos.
Should UVU advance, it would face the winner of No. 3-seeded Colorado and Seton Hall.
Southern Utah, which lost to Grand Canyon in the WAC tournament championship, is in the men’s College Basketball Invitational.
The No. 4-seeded Thunderbirds (22-12, 12-6 WAC) will play No. 13 North Alabama (18-14, 10-8 ASUN) on Saturday at 11 a.m. MDT.
SUU is led by Tevian Jones, who is putting up 17.6 points per game, while North Alabama’s Daniel Ortiz averages 14.9 points per game.