As the regular season WAC champion, Utah Valley earned a bid to the NIT, where it will be a No. 7 seed facing No. 2 seed California. The Wolverines were the No. 1 seed in the WAC Tournament last week, but they fell to Idaho in the semifinals.
Although Utah Valley did not achieve its ultimate goal of playing in the NCAA Tournament, playing in the NIT is still a huge step forward for this program. The Wolverines only prior postseason experience was in the Collegeinsider.com Tournament (CIT), which is for only mid-majors and a step below the NIT, and this was their first year playing in a quality league like the WAC.
Utah Valley has been a Division I program only since the 2004-05 season. In their 10th season, they will be playing postseason basketball, against a storied program from the Pac-12, on national television. Not too bad for a team competing in a league that holds an automatic NCAA Tournament berth for the first time.
“It will be a very tough challenge but it’s an exciting challenge,” head coach Dick Hunsaker said. “It’s great to be a part of the NIT.”