Marquette Wire

Men’s basketball misses NCAA tournament, will face Harvard in NIT

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Marquette will make its first trip to the NIT since 2004-'05.

Marquette will make its first trip to the NIT since 2004-'05.

Photo by Helen Dudley

Photo by Helen Dudley

Marquette will make its first trip to the NIT since 2004-'05.

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Marquette men’s basketball did not hear its name called during the Selection Sunday bracket reveal and will miss the NCAA Tournament for the third time in head coach Steve Wojciechowski’s four-year tenure.

The Golden Eagles instead will be a No. 2 seed in the 32-team National Invitation Tournament (NIT). They will host seventh-seeded Harvard on campus at the Al McGuire Center Wednesday at 6 p.m. Central Time.

KenPom, a prominent college basketball analytics site, ranks the Crimson 144th in the country. Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski will face off against a fellow former Duke assistant: Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker.

A win would result in another home game at the Al McGuire Center against Oregon or Rider. Marquette would play one more game at a campus site before playing the semifinal and final rounds at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The selection committee’s decision did not come as a surprise; BracketMatrix, a site that aggregates March Madness predictions, had Marquette in its “next four out” slot. Heading into Sunday, only nine of the 114 brackets that comprise the BracketMatrix projections put the Golden Eagles in the tournament.

After losing to Villanova in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Tournament Thursday, Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski said he believed his team had done enough to make March Madness.

“I think our team has had a really good year, especially considering our youth,” Wojo said. “I think our team is capable of winning games in the NCAA Tournament. But that’s for someone else to decide.”

Unlike last year, the team decided to watch the selection show privately. When Marquette was more of a sure bet to make the tournament in 2016-’17, players celebrated with fans in the Union Sports Annex, a campus sports bar where tourney-bound Marquette teams tend to hold viewing parties.

Marquette’s opening NIT game – the program’s first since the 2004-’05 season – will be either Tuesday or Wednesday. The exact schedule will be revealed later tonight.

John Steppe contributed to this report.

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