Men's Hoops in Chase NIT

Field pairings announced for pre-season tourney.

April 29, 1998

NEW YORK-The University of North Carolina along with Stanford University, who recorded 34 and 30 wins respectively, and were both NCAA Final Four participants, highlight the 1998 CHASE NIT field which was announced today by NIT Executive Director, John J. Powers.

The CHASE NIT, now in its fourteenth year, tips off November 16th and 18th with the first round games at campus sites. Second round games, also at campus sites, will take place on November 18th and 20th. The semifinal and championship doubleheaders come to Madison Square Garden on November 25th and 27th.

The CHASE NIT field also featires Big 10 Conference entry Purdue University, who lost to Stanford in the NCAA Sweet 16. This is the third time the Boilermakers have played in the CHASE NIT, the last time being 1991. In addition to UNC, the University of Massachusetts returns to the 1993 field. The Minutemen, whose season ended with a first round NCAA loss, defeated the Tar Heels in the 1993 CHASE NIT semi's but lost to Kansas in the championship game. Also back from '93 is St. John's and the University of Georgia. The Red Storm, out of the Big East Conference, returned to NCAA tournament play in March after a four year absence. This is the fourth time that the Red storm will be in the CHASE NIT ('85, 89, and '93). Under first year coach Ron Jirsa, the Bulldogs made it to the NIT semifinals in March and are a third time entrant into the CHASE NIT ('88, '93).

The Missouri Tigers from the Big 12 Conference, whose season ended with a first round NIT loss, returns to the CHASE NIT after a ten year hiatus. The Tigers defeated North Carolina 91-81 in the 1988 CHASE NIT, but lost to Syracuse in OT 86-84 in the title game.

Other clubs back from the '88 tourney besides Stanford and Missouri are Southern Methodist, out of the Western Athletic Conference and Southwest Missouri State, who plays in the Missouri Valley Conference.

The University of Memphis, who took part in the post season NIT, returns to the preseason for the fourth time. The Tigers lost in the semifinals two out of the three times they played in the November Classic.

Rounding out the field are first time entrants College of Charleston, a 24-6 finisher who lost to Stanford in the NCAA first round; Illinois-Chicago, who at 22-6 also lost in the NCAA first round (to North Carolina), NIT participant Gonzaga University who ended up with a 24-10 mark; Florida International out of the Trans American Conference; North Carolina-Asheville from the Big South Conference and Niagara University from the MAAC.

"The preseason tournament quickly established itself as the nation's premier collegiate earley season event," commented Powers. "Year in and year out our fields are full of talent and the games are played at a high level of intensity and skill. We are quite happy with the 1998 Tourney," concluded Powers, who is heading into his eleventh year at the NIT helm.