Karvel vs. Kentucky in NIT opener
Karvel Anderson and his Robert Morris University teammates will get an opportunity to face the defending national champs and one of the blue-blood names in college basketball history when they take on Kentucky in a nationally televised National Invitation Tournament first-round game Tuesday, March 19.
Anderson, an Elkhart Memorial graduate and junior guard on a balanced Colonials squad, is the team’s leading scorer on the season at 12.7 points per game.
RMU — though an eighth seed to the Wildcats’ No. 1 in the 32-team field — will even get to host the game thanks to Kentucky’s Rupp Arena being occupied this week as an NCAA Tournament site.
The contest is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on ESPN.
Robert Morris (23-10, 14-4), the regular-season champion of the Northeast Conference, failed to win its league tournament last week, thus being denied an automatic NCAA Tourney bid.
Kentucky (21-11, 12-6), the 2012 champion before having its star players leave school early in bulk, failed to earn the Southeastern Conference automatic spot or an at-large bid.
As it so happens, Wildcat coach John Calipari is a native of Moon Township, Pa., home to Robert Morris.
The winner of Tuesday’s game faces the winner of Wednesday’s Charlotte (21-11) at Providence (17-14) contest on a date to be determined.
Alabama, Virginia and Southern Miss join Kentucky as the NIT’s four No. 1 seeds. The event’s Final Four is set for April 2 and 4 at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Other teams that did not make the 68-team NCAA Tourney field, but will also nevertheless be in postseason action this week include Purdue, Indiana State, Western Michigan and Evansville.
On Wednesday, No. 6 seed Indiana State (18-14) is at No. 3 Iowa (21-12) in a 7 p.m. NIT contest slated for ESPN2.
Also Wednesday, Purdue (15-17) hosts Western Illinois (22-8) and Western Michigan (20-12) hosts North Dakota State (24-9) in 7 p.m. College Basketball Invitational games.
Evansville (18-14) hosts Tennessee State (18-14) Tuesday in a CollegeInsider.com Tournament first-round game.
The CBI is a 16-team field and the CIT a 32-team event.
CBI quarterfinals are March 25 and semifinals March 27 at sites to be determined. The championship is a unique best-of-3 slated for April 1, 3 and, if necessary, April 5.