AUSTIN (KXAN) –Texas is ready to start anew with a postseason appearance. Even if its not the tournament they ultimately wanted.
The Longhorns face South Dakota State in its first round NIT matchup Tuesday night at the Frank Erwin Center. It’s the Longhorns’ first NIT appearance since 1986.
The Longhorns are the No. 2 seed in its NIT regional, they are coming off of a first round loss in the Big 12 tourney to Kansas.
South Dakota State lost their previous game, as well, upset by Western Illinois in the Summit League Quarterfinal. The Jackrabbits were considered the favorites to win the Summit League and reach the NCAA Tournament.
By falling in their conference tournament, South Dakota State knew it missed out on a chance to play in the NCAA’s, but expected a NIT berth.
“They’ve been practicing to play in the NIT and play at a place like Texas for a week. They’re going to be ready to play,” Texas coach Shaka Smart said.
Texas will have to deal with a sharpshooting Jackrabbits squad. South Dakota State shot 50 percent from the field, and 41 percent from 3-point range this season. SDSU also features prominent scorer Mike Daum who is looking to keep his college career alive. Daum is ranked ninth in all-time Division 1 scoring.
Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. Texas announced it will limit seating to the lower bowl of the Erwin Center. Tickets are available for $14 or $12.