Bucknell Draws Arizona in First Round of NIT
March 11, 2012
LEWISBURG, Pa. -Bucknell's first-ever National Invitation Tournament appearance will come Wednesday night against another team unaccustomed to playing in the NIT. The Bison drew No. 1 seed Arizona, a traditional national power that has not been in the NIT since 1951, on Wednesday at 9 p.m. EDT (6 p.m. local time). The game will be televised live on ESPN2.
Bucknell, 24-9 on the season, was an automatic qualifier for the NIT field after it won the Patriot League regular-season title but lost 82-77 to Lehigh in the Patriot League Tournament championship game on Wednesday. Arizona is 23-11 overall and finished 12-6 in the Pac-12. This will be the first time Bucknell and Arizona have squared off in men's basketball.
The Bucknell-Arizona winner will face the winner of No. 4 Oral Roberts and No. 5 Nevada at a date and time to be determined.
The Wildcats enter the NIT having won nine of their last 12 games, including a 53-51 loss to Colorado in the championship game of the Pac-12 Tournament. Arizona's only non-conference losses came against Mississippi State, San Diego State, Florida (in overtime) and Gonzaga. The Wildcats are 14-3 this season at the McKale Center, including 7-1 against non-league foes.
Arizona has three double-digit scorers, led by Kyle Fogg at 13.7 points per game. Solomon Hill averages 12.8 points and leads the team in both rebounds (7.7) and assists (2.6), while Jesse Perry averages 12.2 points and 7.6 rebounds per contest. The Wildcats score 69.5 points per game while allowing 62.7. They shoot 38.0 percent from 3-point range compared to their opponents' 28.1 percent.
Mike Muscala, who had 30 points and 14 rebounds in the Patriot League championship game, leads the Bison in scoring (16.7) and rebounding (8.9).
This will be Bucknell's sixth all-time postseason appearance. The first five came in the NCAA Tournament, most recently in 2011, when the Bison fell to eventual national champion Connecticut in the second round.
Tickets to the Bucknell-Arizona NIT contest are available through the Arizona athletics ticket office. Tickets are available online now at arizonawildcats.com, and phone sales begin at 9 a.m. (PDT) Monday at 520-621-CATS.
This is the 75th installment of the NIT, which was first contested as a six-team event at New York's Madison Square Garden in 1938.