Michigan Accepts NIT Bid, Will Host First-Round Game

NIT Release | 2006 NIT Bracket (PDF)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team was selected for the 2006 National Invitation Tournament today (Sunday, March 12). With the NIT field now under the NCAA, the Wolverines will be one of four No. 1 seeds in the 40-team field along with the Big East's Louisville and Cincinnati and the ACC's Maryland.

The Maize and Blue will have an opening-round bye and host a first-round game Thursday (March 16) at Crisler Arena against either Lipscomb or UTEP. Tipoff is scheduled for a 7 p.m. with television still being determined. Lipscomb (18-9, 14-5 Atlantic Sun) and UTEP (20-9, 11-3 Conference USA) play Tuesday (March 14) at UTEP's Don Haskins Center.

Tickets for Thursday's game are $10 for Blue reserved, $8 for Gold general admission and $5 for University of Michigan students in the lower bowl bleachers. Tickets will go on sale at 9 a.m. Monday (March 13) through the U-M Ticket Department and online at mgoblue.com./tickets.

Michigan has never faced Lipscomb but has a 2-1 all-time record against UTEP. The Wolverines hold a 1-0 record against UTEP in Ann Arbor after playing the Miners in the second round of the 1980 NIT (74-65, March 11). The other two games in the series were a win at UTEP's 1978 Sun Carnival (60-54, Dec. 29) and a one-point loss at UTEP's 1983 Sun Bowl Clasic (72-71, Dec. 27).

The winner of the game between Michigan and Lipscomb/UTEP will advance to the second round and play Monday, March 20, against the winner of the Vanderbilt/Notre Dame game scheduled for Wednesday (March 15) in South Bend, Ind.

Michigan returns to the NIT for the second time in three years. The last time the Wolverines played in the NIT was during the 2004 tournament, when the Maize and Blue came way with the 2004 NIT crown after defeating Rutgers 62-55 (April 1). Current senior guard Daniel Horton (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill HS) was named the NIT Most Valuable Player. Overall, Michigan has appeared in seven* total NIT Postseason Tournaments and posted a 15-5* NIT record.

The Wolverines closed out the regular season with an 18-10 overall record and an 8-8 mark in Big Ten play, which has been rated the top conference all season long by the RPI rating system. The Wolverines tied for the sixth spot in the league with intrastate rival Michigan State. The No. 7-seeded Wolverines lost in the Big Ten Tournament first round to No. 10 seed Minnesota, 59-55.

Michigan opened the season with a 10-1 non-conference record with road wins at Boston University (51-46, Nov. 22), Notre Dame (71-67, Dec. 3) and South Florida (68-47, Dec. 10). The Wolverines also had strong home wins against Butler (78-74, Nov. 26) and against Miami (Fla.) in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge (74-53, Nov. 29). In the Big Ten season, the Wolverines had three wins over top 25 teams with victories over Michigan State (72-67, Jan. 25), Wisconsin (85-76, Jan. 28) and Illinois (72-64, Feb. 21).

Michigan was led all season long by All-Big Ten first team performer Horton as he continues to average career bests in points (17.5), assists (5.21), steals (1.86), field goal percentage (44.1), three-point field goal percentage (38.7) and free throw percentage (93.8). Horton leads the nation in free throw shooting as he continues to be on pace for the U-M and Big Ten single-season records.

Senior forward Graham Brown (Mio, Mich./Mio-AuSable HS) continues to have a strong final season. He has started all 28 games and is averaging 5.4 points and a career-best 7.4 rebounds. He has recorded nine games with 10 or more rebounds and set an Assembly Hall (Indiana University) single-game record with 21 total rebounds (Jan. 3, 2006). Junior Courtney Sims (Boston, Mass./Noble & Greenough School) leads the Big Ten in field goal percentage with a 62.4 mark. In his third season, he is averaging a career-best 11.6 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.

* These numbers reflect NCAA sanctions. Prior to sanctions, U-M had eight NIT appearances with a 20-5 overall record.

U-M Comments on Not Receiving NCAA Bid

Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423

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