The Toledo Rockets basketball team was in the uncertain waters of postseason basketball possibilities after a stunning upset in the MAC Championship Tournament last week to seven-seed NIU, but those worries were assuaged on Sunday night when they accepted a bid to play in the 2019 National Invitational Tournament (NIT.)
The Rockets (25-7, 13-5 MAC) won’t have to travel far to play their first round game, as they’ll be hosted by fellow Ohio-based program Xavier University (18-15, 9-9 Big East) in Cincinnatti. The Rockets are a six-seed in the NIT bracket.
“We are really excited,” Toledo coach Tod Kowalczyk told the Toledo Blade. “The NIT is a prestigious tournament and we’re proud and honored to represent the Mid-American Conference in the NIT. [...] Being the sixth seed and going on the road to a Big East opponent that is a driveable distance is a great matchup for us.”
For Toledo, this is their first NIT appearance since 2014, when they lost to Southern Miss in the first round, and ninth overall. They’ll have a chance to end a sixteen-year streak in the NIT, as the last time Toledo advanced in the NIT was in 2001, with a victory over South Alabama in the first round.
Xavier finds themselves missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2012-2013 season after finsihing tied fo third with two other teams in the Big East, osing to first-seed Villanova in the second round of the Big East Tournament. They’ll seek to defend a 12-5 record at home in the Cintas Center as the three-seed.
The game will be played March 20 at 7 p.m. EST and be televised on ESPN3 and the ESPN App.
The winner of the Toledo/Xavier game would draw the winner of the Texas/ South Dakota State game.