Sports

Cardinal men joining the NIT basketball postseason party

 

The Stanford men's basketball team didn't qualify for the NCAA Tournament, but will continue its season after earning a spot in the Postseason National Invitation Tournament.

Reaching the postseason for the 26th time in school history, Stanford has been tabbed a No. 2 seed in its region and will host No. 7 seed UC Davis in a first-round contest on Tuesday at Maples Pavilion. Tip-off is slated for 8 p.m. and the game will be televised nationally on ESPN2.

Stanford, which captured Postseason NIT titles in 1991 and 2012, owns a 13-5 record in seven appearances. The Cardinal most recently qualified for the NIT in 2013, advancing to the second round.

Aaron Bright, playing at St. Mary's this season, was the NIT tournament MVP when the Cardinal captured the crown three years ago.

Current Stanford seniors Chasson Randle and Anthony Brown started that season, while Stefan Nastic came off the bench.

Bright is also back in the NIT. The Gaels (21-9) host Vanderbilt (19-13) at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.gostanford.com, by calling 1-800-STANFORD or in person at the Stanford Athletics Ticket Office (9 a.m.-4 p.m. PT Monday-Friday).

Admission is free for all Stanford students with valid ID.

Stanford is 17-1 all-time against UC Davis. The teams last met on Dec. 14, 2013, with the Cardinal cruising to an 83-56 victory.

The Aggies captured the Big West regular-season title and are competing in their first-ever postseason game as a Division I program.

UC Davis, which was upended by Hawaii in the semifinals of the conference tournament, boasts a high-octane offense that averages 70.9 points while shooting 49.4 percent from the field.

Senior guard Corey Hawkins, the Big West Player of the Year, averages 20.4 points and 4.9 rebounds while connecting on 50.0 percent overall and 49.0 percent from beyond the arc.

The Aggies and Cardinal share one common opponent this season in Washington State. The Cougars beat UC Davis in Pullman and split their series with Stanford.

A Stanford win would mean a second home game, against either Rhode Island or Iona.

Also representing the Pac-12 in the 32-team NIT field is No. 5 seed Arizona State. The first three rounds are played at campus sites, with the semifinals and championship game played at Madison Square Garden in New York. The semifinals are slated for March 31 and the title game on April 2.

The Cardinal is 2-1 against the NIT field, splitting with the Sun Devils and beating Connecticut, and 2-9 against the NCAA field, with wins over Wofford and Texas.

Stanford is 38-22 all-time in 25 postseason appearances overall. The Cardinal, which tied for fifth in the conference standings, reached the quarterfinal round of the Pac-12 tournament. Stanford finished 2-5 against top-25 teams, with its biggest victory coming on the road at No. 9/9 Texas in a 74-71 overtime decision on Dec. 23. The Cardinal is 10-2 against nonconference opponents and 13-3 at Maples Pavilion.

— Stanford Athletics

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