Alabama gets No. 1 seed in NIT, set to host Northeastern Tuesday night

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The University of Alabama men's basketball team earned a No. 1 seed in the 2013 National Invitation Tournament and will host Northeastern on Tuesday, March 19 in the opening round of the event. Alabama and the Huskies will tip off at 8 p.m. on ESPN2.

"We're thankful to the NIT committee for giving us the opportunity to participate in the tournament this year, receive the No. 1 seed and the opportunity to play at home," UA head coach Anthony Grant said. "We are going to learn quite a bit about Northeastern here in the next 24 hours. Obviously, I am familiar with their program having coached in the CAA (Colonial Athletic Association) and coach (Bill) Coen does a great job."

The Crimson Tide earned one of the four No. 1 seeds in the 32-team field by virtue of its 21-12 regular-season record and a 12-6 mark in Southeastern Conference play. Other No. 1 seeds include Kentucky, Virginia and Southern Miss.

The Tide's first-round opponent, No. 8 seed Northeastern, travels to Tuscaloosa after winning the Colonial Athletic Association regular season title. The Huskies finished the season with a 20-12 overall record and a 14-4 mark in league play.

"I know they played for the championship of the CAA Tournament and won the regular season with a 14-4 league record," Grant said. "We are playing a very good team. It looks like a great field in the NIT and we are thankful we have been given the opportunity to play."

The NIT berth is the 12th in UA history with the program holding a 21-14 record in the event. Alabama last appeared in the NIT in 2011, also earning a No. 1 seed. That year, the Crimson Tide reached the NIT Finals, falling in the championship game to Wichita State.

The winner of Tuesday's game will face the victor of the Stanford-Stephen F. Austin contest at a time and date to be determined.

Alabama is one of six SEC teams to earn a berth in either the NCAA Tournament or NIT. Joining the Crimson Tide in the NIT is Kentucky and Tennessee, while Florida, Mississippi and Missouri each earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament.{}{}{}{}{}

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