MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia received an NIT invite Sunday night, one that resurrects memories of the program’s Big East days.

The Mountaineers (17-15) visit Georgetown (17-14) on Tuesday night in the opening round of the NIT, a consolation gift for two programs that held out slight NCAA hopes in recent weeks. Tip-off is 7 p.m. on ESPN.

Both teams enter having dropped five of their last seven games and seeking to rebound from embarrassing losses in their conference tournaments.

West Virginia’s 66-49 ouster by Texas in the Big 12 quarterfinals stung because Bob Huggins’ team fell behind early, trailed by 30 and was never competitive. Georgetown’s 60-56 loss to DePaul in the Big East hurt because it came against, well, DePaul—a last-placed team that had not beaten the Hoyas since 1994.

“We’re happy to be able to continue play in the postseason,” Huggins said. “Obviously, we are playing a team that we are familiar with and a team that is familiar with us from our Big East battles. We’ve had great games recently with Georgetown and in Washington, D.C., at the NCAA tournament. Mountaineer Nation has always turned out in great numbers in games there, and I know they will be there on Tuesday.”

The fan numbers can’t be too great, however. Because the Verizon Center has a previous commitment, the NIT game will be played at the 2,500-seat McDonough Arena, a campus gym where the Hoyas practice. (It also hosted a Dwight Eisenhower inaugural ball.)

West Virginia is the No. 5 seed and Georgetown No. 4 in the Florida State quadrant. The survivor meets the winner of FSU and Florida Gulf Coast—yes, that Florida Gulf Coast—in the second round. Other matchups in the quadrant include No. 2 seed Georgia hosting Vermont and No. 3 seed Louisiana Tech hosting Iona. Three wins gets a team to Madison Square Garden for the NIT Final Four, where West Virginia won the NIT in 2007.

The Mountaineers and Hoyas share two common opponents this season: Georgetown smoked Kansas State 90-63 in the Puerto Rico Tip-off in November, then lost at Kansas 86-64 on Dec. 21.

Though West Virginia has won the last five meetings against Georgetown dating back to 2009, the Hoyas lead the series 26-25.

“I wish it was not an old foe, just because there is very much a familiarity with how we do things and how they do things, but we’re excited,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III told the Washington Post on Sunday night. “There are many teams whose season is over right now. Are we where we want to be? No. But are we still playing and looking for a championship? Yes.”

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  • huggiebear

    rekterx, I thought I was the only one noticing that. Good idea. :)

  • rekterx

    HEY ... I've got an idea!

    Why doesn't somebody get on this website and fix the order of the comments so that you don't have to click on the "older comments" tab in order to read the "newer comments"? This has only been going on like forever.

  • huggiebear

    FNP, You must be one of those left wing fanatics who only likes free speech when it pertains to what you have to say.

  • billyboy

    way to go, rifle team

  • pghmountaineer

    FNP: Well said.

  • wvu_93

    The Va Tech nightmare comes back to bite us in the ass, needed 3 more wins to offset it.

  • leroy j gibbs

    anyone know how statens ankle it??

  • john

    I thought we deserved the NIT so I have no issue with participating in the NIT. What I do have a problem with is why the NIT would allow a team to be a host and play a game in what is virtually a high school gym? Not saying that we (WVU) deserved a home game, but I don't think anyone should have to play in that dump at Georgetown!

  • FNP

    Here's a great idea! If you dont like WVU and you dont want to cheer for them in the NIT then dont. And to those who down Huggs. You might as well get over it because he's there to stay until he wants to. He is a great coach and has this team on the cusp of being a great team. This team put a woopin' on Iowa St. and Kansas this year. When the season started, everybody had this team sitting at 10 wins. Well they exceeded that and are sitting in a postseason tourney trying to make the state of WV proud. Either get behind the team or quit talking about them.

    • TW EAGLE

      you're right in the fact Huggins will be at WVU till he dies . . . a good ole boy from WVa , who made good in the hotbed of BB players in the cincy area . . . IF , all the Huggins fans are right , unless half the roster gets sidelined with sickness & injuries , the Mounties should win 25+ games next season . . . and that's allowing for 7 conference losses . . .
      IF, the Mounties FAIL to reach this goal , i'll have to consider that Huggins built his considerable W/L record at cincy competing in a 3rd rate conference . . . I guess his teams made one run at the final four . . . not bad for 20+ seasons (LOL) . . .

  • pghmountaineer

    It would be nice to win the NIT.
    This year's highlight reel "WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR-PART 3", would have agreat ending.
    Go EERS!

    • FNP

      I'm hoping next year you forget how to comment on articles.

  • tom terrific

    listened to hoppy on about attendance at the game. is WVU going to take a University bus to take fans to the game. if so they will be lucky to fill it up

  • rekterx

    Yes ... Huggs has owned JTIII .... when he has had teams that play defense.

  • joel

    where is our talent?

    Beilien: great teacher, motivator, good recruiter.

    (lifetime contract) Huggins: none of the above.

  • rekterx

    Georgetown RPI 66
    WVU RPI 87

    For what it's worth .....

  • ole sasquatch

    Playing at the small gym gives the Hoyas a huge advantage vs. the center. I strongly suspect Georgetown has few good shooters but are strong otherwise. However Huggin's owns Thompson so we have a good chance.