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BYU basketball earns No. 3 seed in NIT, will host UT Arlington

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BYU sophomore Eric Mika prepares for tipoff. (Photo by Rebecca Lane/UV360)

BYU men’s basketball team accepted an invitation to the 2017 National Invitational Tournament on Sunday evening. This is the 12th-consecutive season the Cougars have continued into postseason play.

The No. 3 seed BYU (22-11) will host No. 6 seed UT Arlington (25-8) on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. MDT in the Marriott Center. The NIT features 32 teams that didn’t make it into the NCAA Tournament.

While UT Arlington won the regular-season Sun Belt Conference championship, they lost in the Sun Belt Tournament during the semifinals to Texas State, 83-62. UT Arlington upset top 25 Saint Mary’s 65-51 in December, a West Coast Conference team BYU struggled to beat during the 2016–17 season.

If the Cougars win their NIT opener, they could face Houston, which is the alma mater of coach Dave Rose and transfer guard L.J. Rose.

In BYU’s last two NIT appearances — in 2013 and 2016 — the team lost in the semifinals.

This will mark BYU’s 13th appearance in the NIT. The Cougars have an 18-10 record in the NIT, including titles in 1951 and 1966. In addition to the title years, BYU has also played in the NIT in 1953, 1954, 1982, 1986, 1994, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2013 and 2016.

Although preseason NIT polls had BYU and Utah playing early in the NIT Tournament, Utah also earned a No. 3 seed. The two teams would only meet if they both made it to the championship game.

The BYU-UT Arlington game will be broadcast on ESPN2. Purchase tickets to the BYU vs. UT Arlington game at byutickets.com.

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