BATON ROUGE, LA — The LSU Tigers received the news they were hoping for shortly after 7:30 p.m. when its name came up for a spot in the 2014 post-season National Invitation Tournament.
The Tigers are slated to play the San Francisco Dons at 9 p.m. CDT in San Francisco Wednesday in a game televised by ESPNU. This will be the first meeting between the teams in men's basketball.
LSU is 19-13 and 9-9 in the SEC, while San Francisco enters the NIT 21-11 and 13-5 in the conference. San Francisco is the fourth seed and LSU the fifth seed in what was called SMU quadrant, as they are the No. 1 seed. The winner of this game will meet the winner of the SMU-UC Irvine game.
This will be LSU’s seventh trip to the NIT and the 27th post-season appearance since 1953 for the Tigers. LSU last went to the NIT in 2012, losing in the first round to Oregon in Eugene.
LSU is coming off a 1-1 split in the Southeastern Conference Tournament, winning over Alabama (68-56) in the second round before losing to Kentucky (85-67) in the quarterfinals.
The game will be played in Memorial Gymnasium on campus, a facility that seats around 4,500 fans.
LSU’s best showing in the post-season NIT was in 1970 when Pete Maravich was a senior at a time when the 16-team event was played entirely at Madison Square Garden in New York City. LSU won two games before losing in the semifinals.
The Dons are making their 23rd overall postseason appearance and sixth showing in the NIT. USF won the 1949 NIT title with a 48-47 victory over Loyola-Chicago and also made NIT appearances in 1950, '66, '76 and 2004.
Coach Johnny Jones made a brief appearance with the media late Sunday evening and here are some of his comments:
“We are really excited about the news that we got earlier tonight about the opportunity to continue playing this year in postseason play in the NIT. As a staff and as a team, our guys are really looking forward to the challenges that are in front of us against a very good San Francisco basketball team. Our guys are really looking forward to an opportunity to continue playing together, improving as a basketball team and making some positive strides for our basketball program.”