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Karvel Anderson a Memorial grad, a junior playing basketball at Robert Morris University. ¬ (Photo Supplied) (AP)

Xavier forward Justin Martin (20) drives against Robert Morris guard Karvel Anderson (15) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/David Kohl) (AP)
Karvel vs. Kentucky in NIT opener
Posted on March 18, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on March 18, 2013 at 5:01 p.m.

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 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.