The Washington Huskies men’s basketball team did not end its NCAA tournament drought this season, but they will continue playing at least.
The 32-team National Invitation Tournament selected the Huskies as a No. 3 seed Sunday, and they will host No. 6 seed Long Beach State in a first-round game at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. The game will be televised by ESPN2.
This is the Huskies’ first NIT appearance since 2013, when they lost 90-79 at Brigham Young in the first round. The year prior, Washington won three games to advance to the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden in New York before losing to Minnesota.
Long Beach State holds a 20-14 overall record and finished in third place in the Big West standings with a 12-4 record. The 49ers lost to Hawaii, 64-60, on Saturday in the Big West tournament championship game. Hawaii earned the Big West automatic bid into the NCAA tournament with the win.
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LBSU is led in scoring by senior Nick Faust, a 6-foot-6 guard who averages 17.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, and the 49ers have two other players who average double-figure scoring. KenPom.com, the popular basketball analytics site, ranks LBSU 100th nationally, and ranks the Huskies 61st. At No. 79, the 49ers actually have a stronger Rating Percentage Index rating than the Huskies, who check in at No. 84.
If the Huskies (18-14) beat Long Beach State, they would face the winner of No. 2 San Diego State vs. No. 7 Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne in the second round. UW would only host a second-round game if IPFW beats San Diego State.
Washington is 4-0 all-time against Long Beach State, beating the 49ers in the 2007-08, 2010-11, 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons. The 49ers are coached by former Gonzaga coach Dan Monson, who holds a 155-139 record in his ninth season at LBSU.