USC, Notre Dame highlight many notable NIT matchups

Saint Mary's is among the most surprising exclusions from the 2018 NCAA Tournament field. | L.E. Baskow  AP

The victor of the Notre Dame - Hampton game will face the victor of No. 4 Penn State vs.

Notre Dame has never won the NIT tournament, but it has reached the finals four times (1973, 1984, 1992 and 2000) in 11 previous appearances.

The long wait is over and Notre Dame is not headed to the NCAA Tournament after not receiving one of the last at-large bids from the selection committee.

"If all that matters is the quality of your best win or two on your schedule, then we shouldn't even play and just set the field in December after the out-of-conference was complete", he said.

NCAA Committee Chair Bruce Rasmussen told ESPN on Sunday that the Irish were the 69th team, meaning Davidson's win directly cost Notre Dame a spot in the tournament.

Baylor (18-14) and Saint Mary's (28-5) round out the No. 1 seeds.

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Baylor, St. Mary's and Southern California were among the first four out, while UCLA, St. Bonaventure and Arizona State joined Syracuse as the last four in.

But the noteworthy NCAA Tournament snubs have helped create quite a field for the NIT. After three days of speculation about whether or not the Irish would get the benefit of the doubt from the committee now that they are nearly back to full strength, we found out Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell would not get one more chance to lead the Irish on a tournament run.

An 18-point loss to Duke in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament didn't do much for Notre Dame, and the Irish got next-to-no help from the other bubble teams during conference championship week. Top guard Matt Farrell missed five ACC games because of an ankle injury.

"We held a team meeting and discussed where we wanted to take the future of this team", senior forward Martinas Geben said.

When asked about how the team will turn around mentally, Brey said that task falls to the players, specifically the seniors. Still, I think Hampton has the offense to keep up here so I'm leaning that way. They really weren't interested, it was really a tough end to a season. And while you could make a case for their potential - they beat Kansas and Texas Tech, as well as bubble teams Oklahoma and Texas - they finished with an RPI of 66, were 2-9 away from home, and played a weak nonconference schedule.

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