Exclusive coverage of the 2010 National Invitation Tournament on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN360.com – 10 first-round games, extensive second-round action, all quarterfinals, semifinals and the championship – will begin with six first-round games Tuesday, March 16, and four first-round matchups Wednesday, March 17.
The 32-team field includes last year’s NCAA Tournament Champion in North Carolina, 23 teams with 20 or more wins, and St. John’s, the NIT record holder for most appearances, games and championships, in its first NIT since 2003.
Northeastern and Connecticut get things started Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and ESPN360.com, followed by five more games including Texas Tech at Seton Hall at 9 p.m. on ESPN2 and William & Mary at defending NCAA Champion North Carolina at 9:30 p.m. on ESPN.
Coverage of second-round games begins Friday, March 19. The semifinals on Tuesday, March 30, and NIT Championship on Thursday, April 1, will be telecast on the ESPN networks live from New York’s Madison Square Garden.
The NIT featured exclusively on ESPN follows a successful 2009 campaign in which ESPN audiences increased from 2008 coverage. ESPN’s six telecasts averaged a 1.1 and 1,033,000 households, up 10 percent and 11 percent, respectively, over 2008 (1.0 and 929,000 households for seven games). ESPN2, with 11 telecasts, averaged a 0.7 and 662,000 households for increases of 40 percent and 32 percent, respectively, over 2008 (0.5 and 502,000 households; 11 contests).
On Sunday, March 14, ESPNU’s NIT Selection Show presented the live announcement of the NIT field, which features 32 teams. This is the fifth year in which all Division I conference regular-season champions that will not be in the NCAA Tournament are guaranteed an NIT bid (the eight this year include Weber State, Troy, Coastal Carolina, Kent State, Jacksonville, Stony Brook, Quinnipiac and Jackson State). The NIT, founded in 1938, is the nation’s oldest postseason college basketball tournament.
2010 NIT Schedule (times subject to change)
|Tue, Mar 16||7 p.m.||NIT First Round: Northeastern at ConnecticutMike Patrick & Tim Welsh||ESPN2 HD / ESPN360.com|
|8 p.m.||NIT First Round: N.C. State at USFMike Gleason & Mark Adams||ESPNU / ESPN360.com|
|9 p.m.||NIT First Round: Texas Tech at Seton HallRon Franklin & Fran Fraschilla||ESPN2 HD / ESPN360.com|
|9:30 p.m.||NIT First Round: William & Mary at North CarolinaBrad Nessler & Jimmy Dykes||ESPN HD / ESPN360.com|
|10 p.m.||NIT First Round: Jackson State at Mississippi StateClay Matvick & Joe Dean, Jr.||ESPNU / ESPN360.com|
|11 p.m.||NIT First Round: Jacksonville at Arizona StateTerry Gannon & Stephen Bardo||ESPN2 / ESPN360.com|
|Wed, Mar 17||7 p.m.||NIT First Round: Weber State at CincinnatiMike Patrick & Tim Welsh||ESPN2 HD / ESPN360.com|
|7 p.m.||NIT First Round: Northwestern at Rhode IslandJohn Rooke & Tim O’Toole||ESPNU / ESPN360.com|
|9 p.m.||NIT First Round: St. John’s at MemphisJohn Saunders & Bob Valvano||ESPN2 HD / ESPN360.com|
|9 p.m.||NIT First Round: Illinois at Stony BrookDan McLaughlin & Dickey Simpkins||ESPNU / ESPN360.com|
|Fri, Mar 19||TBD||NIT Second RoundRon Franklin & Mark Gottfried||ESPN2 / ESPN360.com|
|Sat, Mar 20||TBD||NIT Second RoundDari Nowkhah & LaPhonso Ellis||ESPN / ESPN360.com|
|5 p.m.||NIT Second RoundTBD||ESPNU / ESPN360.com|
|Mon, Mar 22||7 p.m.||NIT Second RoundMike Patrick, Tim Welsh||ESPN / ESPN360.com|
|8 p.m.||NIT Second RoundTBD||ESPNU / ESPN360.com|
|9 p.m.||NIT Second RoundRon Franklin, Mark Gottfried||ESPN / ESPN360.com|
|11:30 p.m.||NIT Second RoundRyan Burr, Bob Valvano||ESPN2 / ESPN360.com|
|Tue, Mar 23||7 p.m.||NIT QuarterfinalJohn Sciambi & LaPhonso Ellis||ESPN / ESPN360.com|
|9 p.m.||NIT QuarterfinalJohn Saunders & Bob Valvano||ESPN / ESPN360.com|
|Wed, Mar 24||7 p.m.||NIT QuarterfinalMike Patrick & Tim Welsh||ESPN2 / ESPN360.com|
|9 p.m.||NIT QuarterfinalBrad Nessler & Jimmy Dykes||ESPN2 / ESPN360.com|
|Tue, Mar 30||7 p.m.||NIT SemifinalRon Franklin, Fran Fraschilla & Bill Raftery||ESPN2 HD / ESPN360.com|
|9 p.m.||NIT SemifinalRon Franklin, Fran Fraschilla & Bill Raftery||ESPN2 HD / ESPN360.com|
|Thu, Apr 1||7 p.m.||NIT ChampionshipRon Franklin, Fran Fraschilla & Bill Raftery||ESPN HD / ESPN360.com|
Schedule subject to change