NIT to cut field in half, host tournament in Dallas area due to COVID-19

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The National Invitation Tournament is moving forward this month as scheduled, but the second-tier tournament won’t look like it has in years past.

The field at the NIT — generally filled by teams that just missed the cut for the NCAA tournament — will be cut in half this year from the traditional 32 teams to 16 teams due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCAA announced on Monday afternoon.

All games will take place in the Dallas-Fort Worth area at both the UNT Coliseum at North Texas and the Comerica Center in Frisco. Usually, teams host games on campus before the final two games of the tournament move to Madison Square Garden in New York.

The tournament will not accept any automatic qualifiers this season, either. Instead, all 16 teams will be at-large selections.

The NIT was canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Texas won in 2019. First-round games this year are set to start on March 17, and the championship will take place on March 28.

The CollegeInsider.com tournament, or the CIT, already announced that it had canceled this year’s tournament due to the coronavirus — marking the second straight year. The NCAA tournament is set to take place in a bubble-like atmosphere around the Indianapolis area later this month, starting with Selection Sunday on March 14.

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