How many teams make the NIT

Penn State is unlikely to be considered for the NCAA Tournament, barring a miraculous finish to the season, so the Nittany Lions will be hoping to receive a bid to the NIT.

UAB v North Texas
UAB v North Texas / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

With a record hovering right around .500 for most of the season and plenty of difficult Big Ten games left, Penn State is more likely to be heading for the NIT than the NCAA Tournament. The Nittany Lions will even need to win a few more games down the stretch to qualify for the once-prestigious March Madness alternative.

An invite to the NIT is like when the waitress says is Pepsi okay? It’s not, but considering all 68 cans of Coke have already been drank, it kind of has to be. In Mike Rhoades's first season at Penn State, if he’s offered a Pepsi, he’ll certainly enjoy it. 

Last season, North Texas won the NIT over UAB, but a Big Ten team did make the semifinal. Wisconsin was a No. 2 seed and won three games before falling to North Texas 56-54. Michigan advanced to the second round and Rutgers, a No. 1 seed was upset by Hofstra in Round 1. 

This season, the 32-team tournament has two guaranteed spots for the Big Ten. The NIT has changed its formula for selection and will guarantee automatic qualifying spots and home games for the top two teams in the NET Rankings from the Big Ten, ACC, Big East, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC, who did not make the NCAA Tournament. 

The NIT selection committee will fill out the 20 remaining spots in the tournament with at-large bids and the best four at-large teams as determined by the committee, will host the final four home games of the first round. 

On top of changes to the selection process, the NIT will also use experimental rule changes, most notably widening the free-throw lane from 12 feet to 16 feet which is the width used by the NBA and FIBA. 

How many teams make the NIT?

32 teams with 12 automatic qualifiers coming from the ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC and the remaining spots filled by at-large qualifiers determined by the NIT selection committee. The automatic qualifying teams and top four at-large teams will host the 16 first-round games. 

The NIT semifinal and final will be played at the Hinkle Field House in Indianapolis, home of Butler University.