Herald news services
SEATTLE — Washington will play in the NIT for the second straight season and open the tournament on the road at BYU.
Brackets for the NIT were released on Sunday night. The Huskies will be a No. 6 seed in the bracket where Southern Mississippi is the top seed. The Huskies and third-seeded BYU play on Tuesday night in Provo, Utah.
“It gives our seniors three more games,” Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar said. “We were hopeful we would get into the NIT. I thought it was 50-50,” he said Sunday night.
“It doesn’t matter who we play,” said Washington senior guard Abdul Gaddy. “Wherever we go we will be prepared to play our hardest. I’m just excited to get another opportunity to play.”
Washington ended the regular season with a record of 18-15 after losing 80-77 Thursday night to eventual league-tournament champion Oregon in the second round of the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas.
A year ago, the Huskies were a No. 1 seed in the NIT after becoming the first regular-season champion of a power conference to miss the NCAAs. Washington reached the semifinals of the NIT before losing to Minnesota.
Washington and BYU have not played since Dec. 7, 1998, when the Huskies won 83-68 in Provo.
“I’m just excited to be able to keep playing,” said the Huskies’ Scott Suggs. “I wish things would have turned out differently in the Pac-12 tournament but nonetheless we’re able to keep playing. We have another chance to win something.”
The winner of Tuesday’s game will play the winner of Tennessee and Mercer sometime between Thursday and next Monday in the second round. Quarterfinal games will be played March 26 and 27.
Three wins in the NIT and the Huskies could return to Madison Square Garden in New York. This year’s NIT semifinals and finals are April 2 and 4 at The Garden.
The Huskies also played in the 1996, 1987, 1982 and 1980 NIT and have compiled a 6-6 overall record. Last season, as a No. 1 seed in the NIT, they beat Texas-Arlington, Northwestern and Oregon all at home to reach New York.