According to ESPN’s Eamonn Brennan, the Penn Quakers will be playing in the 2012 NIT Season Tip-Off. The pools and dates aren’t finalized because the NIT is still looking for one more team to complete the 16-team field.
There are four pools (with four teams each) in the preseason NIT tournament, with Kansas State, Michigan, Virginia, and Pittsburgh hosting. In the article, Brennan said that Penn will most likely be in Pitt’s pool along with Robert Morris and Lehigh.
The Quakers will have to win two games (both in Pittsburgh) to advance to the “final four” of the NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden.
If this is all accurate, the Quakers have a tough road ahead of them. The Panthers (2011-2012 CBI Champions) are coming off a 17-16 season, in which they finished 5-13 in Big East play. Robert Morris was 24-10 last season (13-5 North East Conference), but lost to the Quakers 66-60 early in the 2011-2012 season.
Lehigh, the only team in the pool to make it to the NCAA Tournament (#15 Seed), made headlines for its 75-70 upset of Duke in the first round. The Mountain Hawks were 26-7 in 2011, and return four starters from last year’s team.
A Division II school could be the final team to join the tournament, as the NIT is getting desperate to complete the field. Teams cannot release their non-conference schedules until the field is set.
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