PROVO -- The college basketball season continues for BYU, and with a little luck, March Madness might even reach April. Alas, it's not the NCAA Tournament. Still, the bonus is local BYU fans can see their team play again.
BYU returns to the postseason for an eighth year in a row tonight, hosting Washington in the 2013 National Invitational Tournament.
"We're very excited to be playing in the NIT," coach Dave Rose said. "It's a great opportunity for our team to keep playing and finish the season strong. This will be so good for our younger players to gain postseason tournament experience but I'm especially excited that our seniors get to play another game in the Marriott Center."
No. 3 seed BYU (21-11) will host the No. 6 seed Washington Huskies (18-15) meet at 7:30 p.m. The winner of today's game will face the winner of No. 2 seed Tennessee and No. 7 seed Mercer in the second round.
Washington finished the regular season tied for sixth in the Pac-12 with a 9-9 record. The Huskies lost to Oregon in the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals on Friday. This will be the 19th meeting between BYU and Washington with the Huskies holding a 10-8 advantage in the series. The last meeting between the schools was on Dec. 9, 1997, in Provo. Washington won 83-68.
"Washington has a great basketball tradition," Rose said. "They have a nationally respected coach in Lorenzo Romar and compete in one of the top leagues in the country. Our staff and players are really looking forward to Tuesday."
Rose has guided the Cougars to the postseason in each of his eight seasons at the helm. The Cougars have a 12-8 record in the NIT, including titles in 1951 and 1966.
USBWA All-District and All-West Coast Conference honorees Brandon Davies and Tyler Haws lead the Cougars. Haws, a sophomor guard, led the WCC and is 11th in the nation in scoring at 20.9 points per game. .
A senior forward, Davies is second on the team in scoring (17.6) and first in rebounding (7.8). He also adds 2.5 assists, 1.0 blocks and 1.4 steals while shooting .533 from the field.
Washington is led by junior guard C.J. Wilcox who was named 2nd Team All-Pac-12. He led Huskies in scoring, minutes played and 3-point makes. The junior was also second in blocks and third in assists. His 16.8 points per game ranked sixth in the Pac-12 and his 2.1 3-point makes per game was third.
The Pleasant Grove native also ranked 7th in the conference averaging 34.7 minutes per game, 12th with
1.1 blocks and 8th in free throw percentage (.804).
* JMU SUSPENDS GOINS FOR FIRST HALF OF NCAA GAME: James Madison coach Matt Brady has suspended scoring and rebounding leader Rayshawn Goins for the first half of the Dukes' NCAA tournament game after Goins was arrested over the weekend.
The school says the suspension for the First Four game against LIU Brooklyn on Wednesday night is in accordance with JMU policy.
Harrisonburg police say Goins was arrested Sunday on charges of disorderly conduct and obstructing justice. Police say they were called to break up a party early Sunday morning and Goins was shouting obscenities at them and "enticing the crowd" before leaving with acquaintances.
Police say they did not arrest him immediately for fear the crowd would "turn riotous."
Goins averages 12.7 points and 7.4 rebounds.
JMU is making its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1994.
* MONTANA'S TINKLE HONORED: For the second consecutive season, Montana's Wayne Tinkle has been selected as the Big Sky Conference men's basketball coach of the year by his peers.
Tinkle guided Montana to 19-1 conference record and the program's second consecutive regular-season conference title. The Grizzlies won their second straight Big Sky Championship last week, downing Weber State 67-64 in the title game.
Montana will take a 25-6 record into the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday as the Grizzlies face Syracuse of the Big East Conference.