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Furman, UNCG earn at-large NIT bids
Courtesy: Southern Conference
Release: 03/17/2019
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Courtesy: Southern Conference

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Furman and UNC Greensboro earned bids to the National Invitational Tournament on Sunday, with each set to host first-round games on this week.

UNCG is the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament and will host No. 8 seed Campbell in the Greensboro Coliseum on Tuesday. The game will tip at 7 p.m. and be televised on ESPN3.

Tickets for the game can be purchased here for $12 and all seating is general admission.

The Spartans earned the top seed in the NIT after narrowly missing out on the Southern Conference’s first-ever at-large bid into the NCAA tournament. In the process, though, UNCG has earned its first-ever at-large bid in the NIT and will be hosting for the first time in program history.

This season, the Spartans won a program-record 28 games and went 15-3 in the SoCon for the second straight year. Along with winning the most nonconference games in program history (11), UNCG this season also set a new single-season record for consecutive home victories (17).

Additionally, after earning the No. 2 seed in the 2019 Ingles Southern Conference Men’s Basketball Championship presented by General Shale, the Spartans knocked off No. 7 Samford and No. 3 Furman en route to the school’s third straight appearance in the championship game, where they fell to No. 1 Wofford.

The Spartans’ portion of the bracket includes two additional teams from the state of North Carolina along with Campbell in No. 2 NC State and No. 4 Davidson. Georgetown, meanwhile, is the No. 3 seed.

Furman is a No. 3 seed and will play host to 6th-seeded Wichita State in first-round action on Wednesday night at Timmons Arena. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. on ESPN3.

Tickets for Wednesday's game are $15 each and can be purchased at FurmanPaladins.com. Season ticket holders have until Tuesday, March 19, at 12 p.m. to reserve their seats and are encouraged to use their season ticket log-in to do so. Furman students will receive free admission with a valid Furman ID.

The winner of Wednesday's matchup between the Paladins and Shockers will advance to face the winner of No. 2 seed Clemson and No. 7 seed Wright State.

The Paladins, 25-7 on the season and ranked No. 41 in the latest NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET), will be making their 11th postseason appearance and third in the last four seasons. Wednesday's game will represent just the second appearance in the NIT for the Paladins, who dropped an 86-67 decision at West Virginia in their only previous trip to the NIT in 1991.

Included among Furman's school-record 25 wins this season were victories at Big East champion and defending national champion Villanova and a win at Missouri Valley Conference champion Loyola Chicago. The Paladins earned a spot in the Associated Press Top 25 for three straight weeks during December after becoming the first Southern Conference team to begin a season with 12 consecutive wins since the 1964-65 campaign.

Wichita State enters postseason play at 19-14 overall and posted a 10-8 mark in the American Athletic Conference. Wednesday's game will mark the first meeting between the Paladins and Shockers on the hardwood.

Second-round games will take place March 21-25 with the quarterfinals on March 26-27, both at campus sites. The semifinals on April 2 and finals on April 4 will be played at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The 2019 NIT will feature several experimental rules, including moving the 3-point line back one foot, eight inches, widening the lane to 16 feet and resetting the shot clock to 20 seconds after offensive rebounds. Team fouls will also be reset at the 10-minute mark of each half and there will be no "one-and-one" free-throw situations.

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