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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

A&M notches NIT bid, Montana up first

After falling in its last three contests, Texas A&M narrowly missed the NCAA tournament, earning a bid as a 2-seed in the annual postseason NIT.
“Obviously, we’re disappointed that we are not in the NCAA Tournament but our guys practiced well yesterday and are excited about being in the NIT,” A&M head coach Billy Kennedy said to the media on Monday. “We’re playing a very good Montana team that was 14-4 in their league and is a very experienced, veteran team.”
Five SEC schools will be dancing, starting with Ole Miss Tuesday night in a play-in game against BYU. The Rebels were the only team that finished behind the Aggies in the SEC that made the cut.
The Aggies (20-11) face Montana at 8 p.m. Tuesday night in Reed Arena, but with students participating in spring break festivities, a large crowd is not expected.
However, there are two positives from this tournament: the ability to host and the rule changes that could serve as a pioneer for the future.
Unlike the NCAA tournament, 32 teams have the opportunity to build into the next season in this series of games. The higher seed in the opening three rounds hosts the lower foe, offering a chance for the Aggies to host a few more Senior Nights if they continue to win. If A&M makes it past the third round, the semifinals and finals will be held in Madison Square Garden.
In each game, there will be slight tinkering in the rulebook. Teams will receive a 30-second shot clock, and a four-foot restricted area-arc will be put into place. Coaches will be surveyed based on the changes and adjustment they make to see if these rules are something that could be implemented.
“The NIT has always been recognized as a pioneer event in postseason college basketball and at this key time in college basketball’s history and evolution, it is fitting that the NIT can help provide valuable analysis on the potential effect of these experimental rules changes,” said the NCAA’s Vice President of Men’s Basketball Championships Dan Gavitt. “We think this is an important initiative for the NIT to take a leadership role for the future benefit of our game.”
Junior guard and A&M leading scorer Danuel House is questionable for the remainder of the season. At the SEC tournament in Nashville, House sported a walking boot, and heavily limped when he walked.
Montana (20-12) boasts a second place regular season finish in the Big Sky, just behind NCAA 13-seed Eastern Washington, who they lost to in the tournament championship game by four points.
Senior guard Jordan Gregory and junior forward Martin Breunig lead the Grizzlies, averaging 16.9 and 16.8 points per game, respectively. If Danuel House is absent, the Aggies will rely on freshman Peyton Allen to pick up the slack at the shooting guard position, as well as Jalen Jones, who is the second leading scorer.
The winner of Tuesday’s matchup will await the winner of 3-seed Louisiana Tech and 6-seed Central Michigan, and the Aggies would be able to host either.
Tuesday’s contest can be seen on ESPNU.

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