2015 NIT Season Tip-Off champion Villanova earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Championship and will return to Brooklyn on Friday for their first round matchup against UNC Asheville. The Wildcats’ 4-0 record in the tournament propelled them to a 12-2 non-conference mark and eventual Big East regular season crown. NIT Season Tip-Off runner up Georgia Tech was invited to the NIT.
The NIT Season Tip-Off is one of nine worldwide early season men’s college basketball events owned and operated by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN. Twenty-nine of this season’s 56 participants across these events were selected to the 2016 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship field.
The Charlotte, N.C., based group manages six multiple-team events consisting of the NIT Season Tip-Off, AdvoCare Invitational, Gildan Charleston Classic, Puerto Rico Tip-Off, DIRECTV Wooden Legacy and Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic. The multi-day, destination events staged from Charleston, S.C., San Juan, Puerto Rico, Orange County, Calif., Orlando, Brooklyn and Honolulu, respectively, are all bracket-format tournaments.
In addition to the multiple-team tournaments, ESPN Events also manages three neutral men’s basketball events including the Armed Forces Classic, State Farm Champions Classic and Jimmy V Classic presented by Corona.
Each 2015 event featured at least two participants who earned a selection to the NCAA Championship. As mentioned previously, the AdvoCare Invitational led the way with all eight participating teams selected to play in the postseason, including six in the NCAA Championship and two in the NIT. The entire fields from the Armed Forces Classic, State Farm Champions Classic and Jimmy V Classic presented by Corona were also selected.
All six ESPN Events multiple-team event 2015 champions earned NCAA bids: Virginia from the Gildan Charleston Classic (No. 1 seed, Midwest Region), Miami from the Puerto Rico Tip-Off (No. 3, South), Michigan State from the DIRECTV Wooden Legacy (No. 2, Midwest), Xavier from the AdvoCare Invitational (No. 2, East), Villanova from the NIT Season Tip-Off (No. 2, South) and Oklahoma from the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (No. 2, West).
The 2016 NIT Season Tip-Off will feature two schools currently in the NCAA Championship: West Virginia and Temple. They will be joined by NIT invitee Florida State as well as Illinois. The tournament will be played Thanksgiving Week at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.