Texas Teams Eliminated From NIT

UNT vs Seton Hall
UNT vs Seton Hall | Image by North Texas Basketball

The state of Texas is officially out of the running in the men’s basketball National Invitation Tournament after North Texas was eliminated by Seton Hall in the second round on Saturday.

The Mean Green, the 2023 NIT champions, were one of two teams representing the DFW area and the state in the tournament, along with SMU, who lost a first-round game to Indiana State last week.

The NIT has served as a consolation prize for teams that miss the 68-team NCAA Tournament since the 1980s after being overtaken by a more expansive NCAA Tournament field.

Texas teams have fared well in the NIT since 2013, with four different schools (Baylor, Texas, TCU, and UNT) winning the tournament and SMU making it to the championship game in 2014. North Texas was seeking to become the third school to win the NIT in back-to-back seasons and the first since South Carolina in 2005 and 2006, but the Mean Green struggled against the Pirates’ size, getting outscored 34-24 in the paint on their way to elimination.

“We have a ton of respect for [Seton Hall] head coach Shaheen Holloway and what he’s done and the team they have,” UNT head coach Ross Hodge said after the loss. “I’m super proud of how our team fought in the final four minutes of the game, diving for balls, getting steals, playing hard. Despite the score, they stayed together and kept fighting. I’ll remember that forever.”

Eight teams remain in the NIT as the quarterfinal round approaches this week. On Tuesday, Ohio State will play Georgia, and Indiana State will play Cincinnati. Those games will be followed by Seton Hall against UNLV and Utah against VCU on Wednesday.

The four winners will advance to the semifinals and have a chance to earn a trip to Madison Square Garden in New York City on Thursday, April 4.

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