Virginia Tech Men’s Basketball to play in 2021 NIT Season Tip-Off

Sports

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY – JANUARY 06: Keve Aluma #22 of the Virginia Tech Hokies shoots the ball against the Louisville Cardinals at KFC YUM! Center on January 06, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

BLACKSBURG — Virginia Tech, along with Iowa State, Memphis and Xavier, will headline the 2021 NIT Season Tip-Off at Barclays Center in Brooklyn as announced Thursday by the tournament. Semifinals of the event are set for Wednesday, November 24, with the final and consolation final set for Friday, November 26.

The Hokies will be making their first appearance in the prestigious tournament since 2011. That season, they beat Monmouth (91-46) and Florida International (78-63) in Blacksburg before making the trip up to Madison Square Garden where Tech faced Syracuse (L, 58-69) and Oklahoma State (W, 59-57).

Coming off their fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament berth (2017-19, 2021), the Hokies are set to return their top four scorers from last season. Tech, under the direction of 2020-21 ACC Coach of the Year Mike Young, is ranked No. 10 in ESPN’s latest “Way-Too-Early Top 25.”

The tournament bracket and schedule will be announced this summer. Tickets are not yet on sale, but fans can secure first access to the best seats and discount offers by signing up for the official pre-sale at nitseasontipoff.com.

Field Highlights:

·      Head coach Penny Hardaway led his alma mater Memphis to the 2021 NIT Championship and his third consecutive 20-win season. Hardaway, who had a 14-year NBA career, was a four-time All-Star and spent two seasons with the New York Knicks.

·      Xavier is led by head coach Travis Steele and returns its top seven scorers, including second-team All-Big East point guard Paul Scruggs and three-point shooting specialist Nate Johnson.

·      In his first year, Head Coach T.J. Otzelberger will lead Iowa State, who made the NCAA Tournament both in 2019 and for six consecutive years from 2012-17. The team will welcome top recruit Tyrese Hunter, ranked No. 37 overall and the No. 7 point guard in the country by ESPN.

The NIT Season Tip-Off has been played in New York City since 1985, and this fall marks the sixth year the tournament will be held at Barclays Center. The 2020 event was canceled due to COVID-19 and in 2019, Oklahoma State was crowned champion.

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