For teams that didn't make the 68-team cut in the 2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament, the NIT is their chance to show what they can do, and if nothing else simply play some basketball. For a couple of local squads that felt short of their goal, the NIT is a welcome invitation.
The Cleveland St. Vikings made the list, getting a #2-Seed and a first round matchup with #7-seed Vermont on Tuesday night at the Wolstein Center. The Vikings lost in the Horizon League Semifinals to eventual champion Butler.
Also making the NIT are the Kent St. Golden Flashes, a #7 seed, who will face #2-seed St. Mary's. The Flashes were hoping for better until they lost to Akron in the MAC Tournament Championship last night.
The top four seeds in the tournament all have reason to feel they should be playing in the big tournament. Especially Colorado, who beat Kansas St. three different times and made it to the Big 12 Semifinals. The Buffalos are a #1 seed in the NIT along with Alabama, Boston College and Virginia Tech.