PHILADELPHIA - The field has been announced for the 2012 NIT Season Tip-Off, and the University of Pennsylvania will vie with 15 other teams for the right to play at Madison Square Garden over the Thanksgiving holiday. This is the 28th annual running of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
This will be Penn's third time playing in this event, the others being 1999 and 2004. The NIT Season Tip-Off also marks the second year in a row the Quakers have played in an NCAA exempt tournament, which allows them three extra games on the schedule. As a result, Penn will again play 31 regular-season games instead of the usual 28.
The Tip-Off will begin with four regional sites. Penn has been put in the South Regional which is being hosted at the University of Virginia's John Paul Jones Arena. In first-round games on Monday, Nov. 12, the host Cavaliers will take on Fairfield at 7 p.m., before Penn and Delaware meet in the nightcap at approximately 9:30 p.m.
Pairings on Tuesday will be based on Monday's results, with Monday's losers playing each other in a consolation game and the winners matching up in the regional championship. At this time, the only guarantee for Tuesday is that if Penn plays Fairfield the game will tip off at 4:30, but if the Quakers' opponent is Virginia the game will start at 7 p.m. What is unknown is what will be at stake. (Example: If Penn and Fairfield both lose on Monday night, their game Tuesday will be a consolation, but if both win on Monday the Tuesday game will be the regional championship. Same deal with Virginia.)
The winner of the regional championship game will move on to the NIT semifinals to be played Wednesday, Nov. 21 at Madison Square Garden. The consolation and final will also be at MSG on Friday, Nov. 23.
The teams that do not advance to Madison Square Garden will play third- and fourth-round doubleheaders on Monday, Nov. 19 and Tuesday, Nov. 20 on the campuses of the three highest remaining seeds. Participating teams will not play any team twice, and the third and fourth rounds will be assigned to the most geographically compatible site.
The other opening-round sites are Michigan, featuring the Wolverines along with IUPUI, Cleveland State and Bowling Green; Pittsburgh, with the Panthers, Lehigh, Fordham and Robert Morris; and Kansas State, featuring the Wildcats, Lamar, North Texas and Alabama-Huntsville.
The 2012 NIT Season Tip-Off will be carried by the ESPN family of networks, televising games on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3. All game broadcasts will also be available on WatchESPN.