LSU coach Trent Johnson will get an opportunity to return to his Pacific-10 (now 12) Conference roots Tuesday night.
Johnson, formerly the head coach at Stanford, will have his Tigers team take on Oregon in a first-round game of the NIT. The game will be televised by ESPN.
Despite losing four of its last five games, LSU received a NIT invitation when the bracket was revealed Sunday night. The Tigers are the sixth-seed in the Washington Regional. The Huskies are the top seed in the regional. The winner of the LSU-Oregon game will play the winner of the Iowa-Dayton game.
"We are excited about receiving the invitation to play in this event," Johnson said. "The NIT is a very prestigious tournament and has a long history of outstanding teams and players taking part.
"For us to have an opportunity to continue to play and continue to grow as a basketball team off our last two games in the SEC tournament is going to be very exciting for both the coaching staff and the players."
There is no doubt that LSU's performance in the SEC tournament earned the team its bid. The Tigers defeated Arkansas 70-54 before falling to top-ranked Kentucky 60-51 in the quarterfinals.
"I thought we competed and played as well as we have all year in the last two games," Johnson said. "There are 100 teams out of 345 that have the opportunity to play in either the NCAA (tournament) or the NIT. We are looking forward to our opportunity and the challenge."
LSU is one of four SEC teams to be invited to the NIT. Tennessee is a No. 1 seed. Ole Miss is the No. 2 seed in the Arizona Regional, while Mississippi State is the No. 4 seed in the Seton Hall Regional. The NIT consists of four eight-team regionals. The highest seed is the home team in the first three rounds.
Oregon (22-9, 13-5) finished tied with California for second place in the Pac-12 behind Washington. The Ducks lost games to two LSU opponents - Vanderbilt (78-64) and Virginia (67-54). The Tigers also lost to the Commodores and the Cavaliers.
The Golden Bears received an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Even though the Huskies won the conference regular-season title, they were shunned by the NCAA Selection Committee. The only other Pac-12 team in the Big Dance is Colorado, which won the league tournament.
LSU will be appearing in the NIT for the sixth time. The Tigers reached the semifinals of the NIT on one occasion. In 1970, Pete Maravich-led LSU lost to Marquette in the semifinals and lost to Army in the third-place game. The Tigers beat Georgetown and Oklahoma in early-round games that year.
The Tigers' last appearance in the NIT took place eight years ago. In 2004, LSU lost at Oklahoma in a first-round game. In the 2002 NIT, the Tigers defeated Iowa before losing to Ball State. LSU lost NIT first-round games at the PMAC to Tulane in 1982 and UNO in 1983.
Here are the first-round games in the Washington Regional.
No. 8 seed Texas-Arlington (24-8) at No. 1 seed Washington (21-10)
No. 5 seed Akron (22-11) at No. 4 seed Northwestern (18-13)
No. 7 seed Iowa (17-16) at No. 2 seed Dayton (20-12)
No. 6 seed LSU (18-14) at No. 3 seed Oregon (22-9)