by Bill DiFilippo / @bflip33
One of college basketball’s premier preseason tournaments, the NIT Season Tip-Off, released its bracket yesterday, with Arizona and Duke locking up the tournament’s top two seeds.
Eight of the tournament’s 16 teams are seeded. In order from #1 through #8, the teams participating are Arizona, Duke, Alabama, Rutgers, Rhode Island, Elon, East Carolina, and Drexel. The field is rounded out by Farleigh Dickinson, Metro State, Canisius, Stillman College, Georgia State, McNeese State, UNC Asheville, and Norfolk State.
The tournament will begin on November 18 and run until November 29, when the championship game and the consolation game will take place at Madison Square Garden.
The NCAA has finally released the bracket for the Preseason NIT, the last remaining early season tournament that is truly a 16 team tournament. Where as most events guarantee the pod host — one of the four high-profile teams in the event — a spot in the semifinals, the programs partaking in the NIT have to earn their way to Madison Square Garden.
The matchup that everyone will be rooting for is a final between Duke and Arizona on the Friday after Thanksgiving, a game that would pit two teams that could sneak into the preseason top five.
Arizona and Duke, along with being the two best teams in the tournament, are the only teams in the field to have won it before. Duke has won the tournament a record four times, while Arizona has won it three.