Story courtesy of Akron Sports Information
National Invitation Tournament Bracket
– The Mid-American Conference regular season champion Akron Zips will travel to Evanston, Ill., to face Northwestern in the first round of the 75th National Invitation Tournament on Tuesday, March 13.
Akron (22-11) enters the game as a No. 5 seed while Northwestern (18-13) is a No. 4 seed. The game will air live on ESPN2 beginning at 9 p.m. ET. The ESPN2 game will be the seventh game for the Zips on the ESPN family of networks (3-3).
"With our strength of schedule and our RPI, I thought we would get a home game; however, we are very excited to get back on the court," eighth-year head coach Keith Dambrot said. "Northwestern is a good team and is a very difficult prep as they run the Princeton offense and the 1-3-1 zone. We will have to play a good game and execute on both ends of the floor."
The Zips will be making their fifth appearance in the NIT, the third under Dambrot. Akron is 2-4 all-time in the event, 2-2 under Dambrot. The postseason appearance is also the fifth-straight for the Zips and the sixth in the last seven seasons.
Akron last appeared in the NIT in 2008, going 1-1 in the event. The Zips travelled to Tallahassee, Fla., to defeat Florida State 65-60 in overtime on March 18. Four days later, the Zips fell 68-63 to eventual NIT runner-up Massachusetts in Amherst, Mass., on March 22.
In 2006, the Zips made their first postseason appearance under Dambrot, defeating Temple 80-73 in overtime on March 14 in Philadelphia. The victory was the first postseason win in program history in the Division I era (since 1980-81). Akron would fall 71-60 at Creighton on March 16 in Omaha, Neb.
The meeting will be the first between the Zips and the Wildcats. The Zips are 4-18 against the Big 10, including an 0-1 record under Dambrot. Akron last faced a Big 10 opponent last season, falling 66-58 at Minnesota on Nov. 15.
The winner of Tuesday's contest advances to take on the winner of the game between top-seeded Washington and eighth-seeded Texas-Arlington.
Tickets are $20 for the general public and go on sale at 10 a.m. ET Monday via NUsports.com or by calling 888-GO-PURPLE.