Georgia Secures Spot in NIT, Set to Host Xavier in Opening Round

The excitement is palpable: the Georgia Bulldogs are making a much-anticipated return to the postseason scene.

On a thrilling Sunday night, the selection committee announced that the Georgia Bulldogs would participate in the National Invitation Tournament. They’ve secured the No. 4 seed and have the honor of hosting Xavier in the opening round. This appearance in the NIT is a significant moment for the Bulldogs, marking their first postseason play since the 2016-17 season, which also saw them compete in the NIT. During that tournament, they hosted the first round but were defeated by Belmont with a score of 78-69.

The initial round of the NIT is scheduled for either Tuesday, March 19, or Wednesday, March 20. A victory over the Musketeers would propel the Bulldogs into the second round, where they would face the winner of the match between the 1 seed Wake Forest and Appalachian State.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs have not made an appearance in the NCAA Tournament for nine years. This year, Georgia is one of two SEC teams to qualify for the NIT, thanks to a new rule that guarantees two spots in the tournament for teams from six major conferences. With Ole Miss stepping back from postseason play, Georgia snagged the SEC’s second slot, following LSU.

The Bulldogs enter the NIT with a record of 17-16 overall. They finished the regular season with 16 wins and 15 losses and recorded a 6-12 in SEC play, tying them for 11th place in the conference standings. Their journey in this week’s SEC Tournament began with a win against Missouri (64-59) but ended with a loss to Florida (85-80) in the second round.

Xavier, on the other hand, comes into the NIT with an overall record of 16-17 and a 9-11 record in Big East play. The Musketeers, seeded 9th in the Big East Tournament, managed to defeat the 8th seed Butler in the first round but were later bested by the eventual champions, UConn.

This year marks Georgia’s 15th appearance in the NIT and their fourth since 2007. The Bulldogs hold a 13-14 record in their NIT history and are aiming for their deepest run yet. Their best performance in the NIT was securing third place, achieved in both 1998 and 1982.

Mike White, Georgia’s coach, is no stranger to the NIT, making this his fifth appearance. With a record of 7-4 in the tournament from his time at Louisiana Tech and Florida, White’s teams have always won their first-round games and reached the quarterfinals three times.

Historically, Georgia has faced Xavier four times, holding a 1-3 record. The last encounter between the two teams was in November 2011, with Xavier winning 70-56.

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