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Hours after discovering they fell short of making it to NCAA football, Oklahoma State, Rutgers, Oregon and Clemson were awarded the top seeds in the National Invitation Tournament Sunday night.
The Cowboys, a team that NCAA Tournament Committee Chairman Chris Reynolds specifically mentioned is receiving strong interest in the scouting bracket, will take on Youngstown State on Wednesday.
“When you look at the resume, they had 18 chances in Quadruple 1, and they only won six,” Reynolds said of the Cowboys (18-15), referring to their toughest games. “And they’ve had opportunities in the non-conference schedule to win a few games to improve their resumes, and they’ve fallen a little bit short.”
Cowboys coach Mike Boynton disagrees. “I thought we did enough to get in,” he told reporters at last week’s Big 12 tournament [the NCAA tournament] before we get here.”
Rutgers, which finished 19-14 after remaining in the Big Ten tournament, meets Hofstra on Tuesday. And the Scarlet Knights could end up facing Cincinnati—a former conference opponent when both schools were in the Big East—in the second round.
“I don’t apologize for playing the post-season here at Rutgers,” said head coach Steve Bickel. “Obviously our goal at the beginning of the year is the NCAA tournament. But we have to turn around quickly here.”
The Ducks also finished at 19-14, and will host UC Irvine on Wednesday. Should the Ducks advance, a second-round date awaits against a team from the Sunshine State, where Florida will face UCF in the same class, also on Wednesday.
A 23-10 season, and a tough ACC slate, wasn’t enough to get the Tigers into the NCAA Tournament, but Clemson will take on Morehead State on Wednesday. Should Clemson advance, it will meet the winner of the UAB-Southern Miss.
The final four NIT games will be played at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on March 28-30.
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