The Charlotte 49ers, returning to the postseason for the first time since 2008, will play at Providence in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament on Wednesday.
The fifth-seed 49ers (21-11) and fourth-seed Friars (17-14) will play at 7:15 p.m. in Providence, R.I.’s Dunkin’ Donuts Center on ESPN3. The winner will play the winner of a game between the bracket’s No. 1 seed Kentucky and No. 8 Robert Morris.
Providence lost in the first round of the Big East tournament last week to Cincinnati. But the Friars have the league’s top scorer in guard Bryce Cotton (19.4 points per game) and one of its best rebounders in LaDontae Henton (8.4 per game).
The 49ers, who lost in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament, haven’t played in the postseason since the 2007-08 season, when they lost in the first round of the NIT to Nebraska.
Providence defends the 3-point shot well, allowing opponents a Big East-low 28.9 percent. That’s not good news for the 49ers, who have struggled with the 3-pointer this season, making 26.8 percent, the lowest in the Atlantic 10.
Southern Mississippi, Virginia and Alabama join Kentucky as the NIT’s No. 1 seeds (the 32-team field is broken down into four brackets). Southern Miss will play host to Charleston Southern (the only other Carolinas team in the field) on Wednesday. Virginia will face Norfolk State on Tuesday in a first-round game and Alabama is home to Northeastern on Tuesday.
Saint Joseph’s and Massachusetts of the Atlantic 10 also got invitations, with the Hawks playing host Tuesday to St. John’s and the Minutemen at home to Stony Brook on Wednesday.
The ACC’s Florida State (home to Louisiana Tech on Tuesday) and Maryland (home to Niagara on Tuesday) also received bids.