Washington St. to face 'jilted' Saint Mary's team in NIT - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

College Basketball

Washington St. to face 'jilted' Saint Mary's team in NIT

Tony Bennett and his Cougars will face Saint Mary's in the first round of the NIT on Tuesday. Tony Bennett and his Cougars will face Saint Mary's in the first round of the NIT on Tuesday.
Saint Mary's guard Patrick Mills shot 5-of-28 against EWU in the Gaels' final game of the season.  It was his first start since breaking his hand vs. Gonzaga on Jan. 29. Saint Mary's guard Patrick Mills shot 5-of-28 against EWU in the Gaels' final game of the season. It was his first start since breaking his hand vs. Gonzaga on Jan. 29.

PULLMAN, Wash. - It's not the Big Dance, but being invited to the NIT is the next best thing for Washington State, who was bounced from the PAC-10 tournament by UCLA last Thursday.  The Cougars travel to meet Saint Mary's on Tuesday - a team that's not too happy about being kicked off the road to the Final Four.

Washington State will make its first NIT appearance in 13 years as a No. 7 seed, while Saint Mary's is a No. 2.  The winner will advance to the play either South Carolina or Davidson.

"We're going into a tough environment, and they've been kind of jilted - I guess - by the NCAA," said Bennett.  "So they'll want to prove, as Ohio St. said last year, that's what happens when you don't take a team into the tournament that's deserving.  They went and won the NIT, so there's no question Saint Mary's will be that way."

Saint Mary's (26-6) was one of the teams on the bubble that could have received an at-large bid to play in the NCAA Tournament.  The team even scheduled an extra game with Eastern Washington after the conclusion of the WCC tournament to show the selection committee how good they can be with their star player in the line up - a game they won 85-65.
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