The NCAA announced on Monday that this year's men's National Invitation Tournament will downsize from 32 teams to 16 and shift to the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area so the competition can safely be completed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Conference USA and the University of North Texas will serve as hosts for the 83rd NIT, and specific venues for each round are being finalized. Games will be played at Comerica Center in Frisco, Texas and at UNT Coliseum on the campus of North Texas in Denton, Texas," the NCAA said in its prepared statement.
The tournament begins March 17, with the final set for March 28.
All NIT games will air on either ESPN or ESPN2.
The reduced field means that the NCAA has eliminated automatic NIT qualifiers and will instead select all 16 schools as at-large participants. Per Jeff Borzello of ESPN, regular-season champions that don't qualify for the NCAA Tournament by winning conference tournaments receive automatic bids to the NIT under the usual format. It's assumed the NCAA will return to the standard format for the 2022 NIT if possible.
The Texas Longhorns defeated the Lipscomb Bisons to win the 2019 NIT. Last year's tournament was canceled because of the health crisis.