By: Carson Adele Williams
The Kentucky Wildcats (21-11) are the overall No. 1 seed for the NIT men’s basketball tournament that starts tonight.
The Wildcats are left out of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2009. The Wildcats are the first NCAA defending champions not to make the tournament since North Carolina in 2010.
The Wildcats will play at eighth seeded Robert Morris tonight. Kentucky coach John Calipari said that if the team had beaten Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament, he would have been more upset about not making the NCAA Tournament this year.
Tonight’s game will be played at the Sewall Center in Moon Township, Pittsburgh, where Calipari was born. He is very familiar with the program at Robert Morris and he knows his team will have to play well and show some pride to win on the road.
If Kentucky wins, the Wildcats will play the winner of the Providence-Charlotte game.
The Alabama Crimson Tide also received a No. 1 seed in the NIT. Alabama (21-12) hosts No. 8 seed Northeastern tonight in another first round NIT matchup. Alabama head coach Anthony Grant said he is excited for the opportunity to play in the NIT.
The Northeastern Huskies (20-12) lost in the CAA Championship games to James Madison 70-57. Grant said the team needs to refocus to face Northeastern after not making the NCAA Tournament.
If Alabama wins, the Crimson Tide will play the winner of the Stanford-Stephen F. Austin game.