Preseason NIT invite means two meetings between Belmont and UT

Monday, August 16, 2010 at 6:54pm
Staff reports

Belmont's men's basketball team will open the 2010-11 season against the University of Tennessee in the NIT Season Tip-Off, it was announced Monday.

The Bruins and Volunteers will play a first-round game Nov. 16 at Thompson-Boling Arena in what now is the first of two matchups in the coming season. The teams also will meet Dec. 23 at Thompson-Boling in a previously scheduled contest.

That equals the number of times they have met previously. Their most recent matchup was in 2008 when UT rallied for a 79-77 victory.

The winner of the NIT contest will advance and face the winner between Arkansas State and Missouri State in the South Regional final.

The 16-team field also includes UCLA, Wake Forest Villanova and George Washington. The final four teams travel to New York for the semifinals and championships while the other 12 teams compete in third and fourth-round contests at campus sites.

It is exciting to open in the NIT Season Tip-Off," Belmont coach Rick Byrd said in a release from the school. "The NIT is a great event to be a part of and I know are players will look forward to this experience."

Belmont was 19-12 in 2009-10 and finished in a four-way tie for the Atlantic Sun Conference regular season championship. Tennessee went 28-9 and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament.