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BYU draws Washington in NIT first round

Published: Sunday, July 5 2015 1:50 p.m. MDT

BYU's Tyler Haws drives on USU's Spencer Butterfield as BYU and Utah State play Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 at BYU in the Marriott Center. The Cougars will host Washington in the NIT. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) BYU's Tyler Haws drives on USU's Spencer Butterfield as BYU and Utah State play Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 at BYU in the Marriott Center. The Cougars will host Washington in the NIT. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

PROVO — While BYU's streak of six consecutive NCAA tournament appearances officially ended Sunday, the Cougars' season will continue with a bid to the National Invitation Tournament.

No. 3 seed BYU hosts No. 6 Washington in the first round of the 32-team NIT Tuesday (7:30 p.m. MDT, ESPN).

"We're very excited to be playing in the NIT," coach Dave Rose said. "It's a great opportunity for our team to keep playing and finish the season strong. This will be so good for our younger players to gain postseason tournament experience, but I'm especially excited that our seniors get to play another game in the Marriott Center."

BYU (21-11) is making its first appearance in the NIT since 2006, when it lost at Houston in the first round.

Washington (18-15) advanced to the NIT semifinals last season with victories over Texas-Arlington, Northwestern and Oregon. The Huskies lost to Minnesota in the semifinals at Madison Square Garden.

"Washington has a great basketball tradition," Rose said. "They have a nationally respected coach in Lorenzo Romar and compete in one of the top leagues in the country. Our staff and players are really looking forward to Tuesday."

Romar's team was disappointed to receive an NIT bid a year ago, as the Huskies were hoping to go to the NCAA tournament.

"Not as much of a letdown as it was last year," Romar told the Seattle Times Sunday about this season's NIT berth. "I think our guys will embrace it a lot sooner."

The winner of the BYU-Washington matchup will face the winner of No. 2 Tennessee and No. 7 Mercer.

Other teams in the Cougars' bracket include No. 1 Southern Miss and No. 4 Florida State. The Seminoles downed BYU in Brooklyn last November.

Washington is led by former Pleasant Grove High star C.J. Wilcox, a 6-foot-5 junior who averages 16.7 points per game. Wilcox's father, Craig, played for BYU from 1993-95.

C.J. Wilcox and Cougar guard Tyler Haws are former AAU teammates.

BYU and Washington played only one common opponent — Utah. The Cougars defeated the Utes in Provo, 61-58, on Dec. 8 in Provo. Utah downed the Huskies in Seattle on Jan. 19, 74-65.

Washington is coming off a Pac-12 tournament quarterfinal defeat to Oregon — the eventual tournament champion. The Huskies fell, 80-77, in overtime.

In 1982, BYU entertained Washington in a first-round NIT game and lost to the Huskies, 66-63.

Second-round NIT games will be played from March 21-25 while quarterfinal games will be played March 26-27. The NIT Final Four will be held at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The semifinals are April 2, with the championship scheduled for April 4.

This is BYU’s 11th appearance in the NIT. The Cougars have a 12-8 record in the NIT, including titles in 1951 and 1966. In addition to the 2006 appearance, BYU's prior years playing in the NIT were 1951, 1953, 1954, 1966, 1982, 1986, 1994, 2000 and 2002.

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