B10 Nebraska Maryland Basketball

Nebraska coach Tim Miles reacts during the first half against Maryland in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday in Chicago. 

The Nebraska men's basketball team earned a No. 4 seed in the National Invitation Tournament and will host Butler Wednesday night in a first-round game at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

The game is set for an 8 p.m. tip. It will be televised on ESPN2.

"We are excited to have our season continue, especially for our seniors who wanted to return to postseason play,” Nebraska coach Tim Miles said in a news release. "We had our share of struggles at times, but I think the way we have played over the final two weeks of the season is a testament to our players and the character they have."

Nebraska (18-16) has won three of its last four games, using a miracle rally to beat Iowa to end the regular season before downing Rutgers and Maryland at the Big Ten Tournament. NU's run ended with a four-point loss to Wisconsin.

Other teams in Nebraska's pod are No. 1 seed TCU, No. 2 Creighton, No. 3 Memphis, No. 5 Butler, No. 6 San Diego, No. 7 Loyola-Chicago and No. 8 Sam Houston State.

Butler went 16-16 in the regular season, finishing eighth in the Big East with a 7-11 conference record. The Bulldogs beat Mississippi at home and Florida on a neutral court early in the season, and split with Creighton in conference play.

Nebraska assistant coach Michael Lewis, an Indiana native, was an assistant at Butler for five seasons before coming to Lincoln.

NIT first-round tickets are on sale now by visiting huskers.com/tickets. Tickets can also be purchased by calling the NU Athletic Ticket Office at 800-8-BIGRED beginning at 8 a.m. Monday morning.

Premium seat holders (courtside, suites and loges) should be able to park in their normal spots for the first-round game. Season-ticket holders will not have their parking for NIT games. Parking for the first-round game will be available on a first-come, first-served basis from Park N’ Go (http://parkandgo.org/) beginning at 9 a.m. Monday.

It will be the first meeting between Nebraska and Butler since 1986, when NU beat the Bulldogs 67-56 at the Rochester (N.Y.) Classic. The programs have met just three times overall, with the first two meetings in 1929 and 1931. The Huskers have won two of the three matchups.

Thirty-two teams qualify for the NIT. The first three rounds of the tournament will be played at the home site of the higher-seeded team. The NIT semifinals and championship game are set for April 2 and April 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Last season, the higher-seeded team went 16-0 in the first round of the NIT, 5-3 in the second round and 0-4 in the quarterfinals. Butler and Texas are the only two teams in the field not to have records above .500. Both went 16-16.

"I believe that our performance at the Big Ten tournament is a good momentum boost heading into the postseason, and showed a team that wanted to keep playing," Miles said. "We have been tested against a schedule that is in the top five nationally in KenPom, including 25 games against the top two quadrants in the NET, and we are looking forward to the postseason challenge."

It is Nebraska's 19th NIT appearance, and third in the last nine seasons. NU lost to Mississippi State 66-59 in the first round of last year's NIT, and is 23-17 all-time in the event with a championship in 1996 and a third-place finish in 1987.

Nebraska's last NIT win came in 2008 against Charlotte, which was also the last time the Huskers hosted an NIT game. NU has lost its last four NIT games.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7436 or cbasnett@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraCB.


Husker basketball reporter

A Ravenna native, Chris covers the University of Nebraska men's basketball team and assists with football coverage. He spent nearly 10 years covering sports at the Kearney Hub and nearly four years at the Springfield News-Leader in Springfield, Mo.

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