Print and Go Back Men's College Basketball [Print without images]

Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Updated: September 5, 2:43 PM ET
NIT Season Tip-off format to change

By Andy Katz

The NIT Season Tip-Off will no longer be a bracketed event and instead will be a classic with set semifinal matchups at Madison Square Garden in New York -- pitting Gonzaga against Georgia and Minnesota versus St. John's -- after the NCAA could only get eight teams in the field instead of 16.

The Gonzaga-Georgia and Minnesota-St. John's semifinals will be played on Wednesday, Nov. 26, with a consolation and championship game on Friday, Nov. 28.

The NCAA-run event will add a new wrinkle due to the reduced field and feature a doubleheader at MSG on Thanksgiving (Nov. 27) with the other four teams, as LIU plays Stony Brook and Saint Joseph's takes on Western Kentucky.

The NIT Season Tip-Off will have four games at campus sites prior to the eight teams' arrival in New York, with Saint Joseph's playing at Gonzaga, Western Kentucky at Minnesota, Stony Brook at Georgia and LIU at St. John's. Dates and times will be released by the NCAA later in the week.

The NCAA is scheduling a few Division II schools to get a fourth game in the event for some of the teams. A source told ESPN that not all of the schools wanted a fourth game.

The NIT Season Tip-Off's previous format was for the four hosts to play two home games in a traditional format, with the winners earning a trip to MSG. The other tournaments that end at a neutral site in New York, Brooklyn, Las Vegas and Kansas City have set semifinal matchups, regardless of what happens in games on campus.

The NIT Season Tip-Off will continue in 2015, but more likely as an eight-team field, as a 16-team field is too hard to fill.