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Utah Valley basketball: Wolverines secure their first-ever berth into the NIT

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 1 2015 7:05 a.m. MDT

UVU's Hayes Garrity gets fouled by Texas-Pan Am's Shaun Noriega, left sat Hurley Johnson looks on as UVU plays Texas Pan Am in the opening game of WAC tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada, Thursday March 13,  2014.  (August Miller, Utah Valley University) UVU's Hayes Garrity gets fouled by Texas-Pan Am's Shaun Noriega, left sat Hurley Johnson looks on as UVU plays Texas Pan Am in the opening game of WAC tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada, Thursday March 13, 2014. (August Miller, Utah Valley University)

OREM — There's no question Utah Valley is a program on the rise. A little more than a year after securing an invite to the Western Athletic Conference, the men's basketball team won the conference's regular season title and with it an automatic berth into the NIT.

The Wolverines (20-11) secured a No. 7 seed in their region and will travel to take on No. 2 seed Cal (19-3) this Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. MDT. The game will be shown on ESPN3.

"Cal is athletic, has great personnel and a Hall of Fame coach in Mike Montgomery," said UVU coach Dick Hunsaker. "It will be a very tough challenge, but it's an exciting challenge. It's great to be a part of the NIT."

The NIT field consists of 32 teams with the final four advancing to play at historic Madison Square Garden in New York. The No. 1 seed in UVU's region is SMU (23-9.)

Utah Valley has played Cal twice before — dropping its first meeting in 2006 (60-47) and losing again in 2009 (85-51).

Email: bgurney@desnews.com Twitter: @BrandonCGurney

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