NIT Round 1 #5 Texas Tech Red Raiders (17-15) @ #4 Seton Hall Pirates (19-12) 9:00PM Open Game Thread

#5 Texas Tech @ #4 Seton Hall, 9:00PM
Prudential Center, Newark, NJ
Television: ESPN2
Radio: 770 WABC, WSOU 89.5 FM

Twitter @GonzoBall @thecycle, Red Raiders v. Pirates Coverage

Projected Starting Five: G-Harvey, G-Theodore, G-Hazell, F-Robinson, F/C-Pope

"Big Teams, College Stars, This Is, The NIT Tournament."  At least, that's what the graphic says on SHUPirates.com.  I don't know whether that's the official slogan of the tournament or not.  Potentially, it may have been created by the same people that put together the phrases on those awful Seton Hall T-Shirts.  Either way, it's terrible. 

The Seton Hall Pirates (19-12) will host the Texas Tech Red Raiders at the Prudential Center on Tuesday night in the first round of the NIT Tournament.  After failing to qualify for the Big Dance, Seton Hall will attempt to gain some postseason success by stringing together a couple victories in the NIT Tournament.  Obviously, it's not the postseason we had wished upon the blue-and-white, but nevertheless, there are lessons to be learned and experience to be gained.  I'm most interested to see how the Pirates respond to the dismissal of Robert Mitchell.  Following the onslaught of three NYT articles a couple weeks back, Bobby Gonzalez had his team ready to play in their BIG EAST opener... for 27 minutes.  After the team nearly blew a 29 point second half lead with 13 minutes remaining, the Pirates hung on, but suffered a frustrating 56-68 loss to Notre Dame on Wednesday night.  The loss to the fighting Irish was likely the deciding factor in why the Pirates are playing tonight, instead of Thursday or Friday. 

SHU Athletics:

Seton Hall earned their first post-season bid since the 2005-06 season with the announcement of their participation in the 2010 National Invitation Tournament. The Pirates earned the #4 seed and will host #5 Texas Tech on March 16. The winner of that game will face the winner of the game between #1 Arizona State and #8 Jacksonville. This is the first-ever meeting between Seton Hall and Texas Tech.

Texas Tech Athletics:

This is the first NIT bid with second-year head coach Pat Knight at the helm of the Texas Tech program.

This will be the fourth time Texas Tech has competed in the NIT. It is their first since the 2002-2003 season when the Red Raiders won three games in Lubbock, lost in the semifinals to St. John's, 64-63, at Madison Square Garden, and then downed Minnesota to claim third place, 71-61.

Double T Nation, SBNation's Texas Tech blog checks in with Texas Tech Basketball for their Daily Diatribe. 

The Pirates weren't able to meet the expectations set forth by Bobby Gonzalez in the offseason, but Jordan Theodore was quick to set a new one for his squad as reported by Adam Zagoria:

"If we get picked for the NIT, we'll have the same attitude just like if we was getting picked for the NCAA," sophomore point guard Jordan Theodore said last week. "It's a national tournament and we want to win."

Courtney Linehan writes about the Red-Raiders quick turnaround time to prepare for Seton Hall:

"We haven't paid much attention to the rest of the bracket," Knight said. "We just know for us to get to (the NIT Final Four in) New York, we're going to have to play three road games and that's going to be quite a thing for us."

Tech is 3-9 on the road this year, with two of those wins coming during the nonconference portion of the schedule. Its only road win in the last three months was a 72-71 win at Oklahoma on Feb. 9.

New Jersey News Room game preview:

NIT HISTORY: This is Seton Hall's 16th appearance all-time in the National Invitation Tournament and first since the 2002-03 season. The Pirates are just 7-16 all-time in the tournament and have lost nine straight games. Seton Hall's last win came over Marquette on March 17, 1956.

The DMN reports that Pat White believes the Red Raiders NIT Bid may parlay itself into an NCAA bid next season:

Red Raiders basketball coach Pat Knight said he believes his team's NIT bid could help the 2010-2011 Texas Tech squad in the same manner it helped this season's Baylor team.

Baylor missed the NCAA Tournament last season, but managed an NIT bid and worked its way all the way to the NIT championship game. This season, Baylor is a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament and Knight sees a lot of similarities between Texas Tech program this year and Baylor's last year.

Texas Tech is not intimidated by Seton Hall, reports Mike Graham:

"They're good," he said during the Big 12 coaches teleconference. "With us having to play up there, that's going to be tough. But it's not like we haven't been playing good teams all year. We just got done playing Kansas, the No. 1 team in the country. We played five ranked teams in our league alone so I think that helped prepare us for this game.

As always, Let's Go Hall!

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