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Northern Illinois to play in Vegas 16 (which has been reduced to 8), opens against UC Santa Barbara

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NIU is the sixth MAC team to play in a postseason tournament. Ironically, since nobody bet on that happening, they're going to Vegas.

Kaleb Carter

After an impressive season where Northern Illinois was picked to be one of the worst teams in the MAC this season, the Huskies will play on in the Vegas 16. The fifth, inaugural postseason tournament was originally going to have 16 teams participate, but was reduced to eight after there weren't enough "top-quality programs" to live up to tournament organizers' demand for "quality over quantity." The tournament was also reduced from five days to three.

Posting a 21-12 record, breaking even against MAC foes, NIU had their first winning season since claiming the MAC West title 10 years ago. The Huskies we exceptional at home, 17-1 in DeKalb, but 3-11 otherwise. The last time NIU played in a postseason tournament in 1996 when they went dancing.

The Huskies, led by fifth year head coach Mark Montgomery (39-84 in first four seasons) and Third Team All-MAC center Marin Maric (12.1 ppg, 8.5 rpg), will open up play on Monday, March 28 at 5:30 p.m. ET (4:30 p.m. CT) against UC Santa Barbara. Game will air live on CBS Sports Network.