When the NCAA was handing out tournament bids on Sunday night, the Marquette Golden Eagles were left out.
Instead, Marquette will face Harvard in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) on Wednesday (6 p.m.) at the Al McGuire Center. The game will be televised on ESPN2.
Marquette (19-13) had a number of moments during the season where they couldn’t afford to slip and they did. Regular season losses at St. John’s and DePaul were back-breakers.
To their credit, the Golden Eagles did have quality road wins against Creighton, Seton Hall and Providence, but as it turned out, Marquette wasn’t even one of the first four teams left out of the NCAA tournament field. That distinction belonged to Baylor, Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Southern California.
Six Big East schools made the NCAA Tournament field: Villanova, Xavier, Providence, Creighton, Seton Hall and Butler. Villanova and Xavier landed number-one seeds.
The last time Marquette played a game in the NIT was March of 2005 when they fell to Western Michigan 54-40.
The tournament will experiment with new rules this season, including an extended three-point line, four quarters instead of two halves, a 20-second shot clock after offensive rebounds and a wide free-throw lane.