Illinois vs. Nebraska, 01.15.2018

Nebraska coach Tim Miles paces the sidelines during a game against Illinois earlier this season at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

KAYLA WOLF, Journal Star

Almost 24 hours later, the Nebraska men's basketball team was still searching for an explanation for its No. 5 seed in the NIT Tournament.

They weren't finding many answers.

"We still don't have an explanation," Husker coach Tim Miles said Monday evening on the Husker Sports Radio Network. "I have reached out to the NIT selection committee, so has Marc Boehm. We have heard nothing back at this point."

Yes, there is a NIT selection committee, which this season counts former Nebraska coach and current Butler director of athletics Barry Collier and Missouri Valley Conference commissioner Doug Elgin among its eight members.

The process by which the committee selects its teams varies slightly from the NCAA process. Teams are voted on and ranked by secret ballot, seeded, then placed in the bracket. Higher seeds will host, unless there is a conflict with the higher seed's venue.

These are the things you learn as you research the NIT. Nebraska opens its postseason 8 p.m. Wednesday at fourth-seeded Mississippi State.

The seed doesn't matter much at this point, of course. What's done is done. But that number next to Nebraska's name means the Huskers will be on the road for the duration of their stay in the tournament, barring upsets or venue conflicts with higher seeds.

"Thirteen wins and you get a double-bye, and you don't get in (the NCAA Tournament)? Man, if I was Tim Miles right now, I would not be — I’m not happy as you can tell," Penn State coach Pat Chambers said Sunday night. "But if I was Tim Miles, I would not be pleased."

Chambers' Penn State team is a No. 4 seed in the region headed by No. 1 Notre Dame. In an odd bit of coincidence, the Nittany Lions and Huskers could meet back at Madison Square Garden in New York City in the NIT semifinals should both win their next three games.

For Nebraska, that means knocking off the rust quickly to try to win three games in a seven-day stretch starting Wednesday.

That Wednesday game against Mississippi State will be just Nebraska's third game in the past 22 days. It will be 12 days since the loss to Michigan at the Big Ten Tournament by the time Wednesday's game tips off.

"I just don't like not playing. Just the fact that we haven't played at all — how much do you practice and still get better?" Miles said. "You try and get as competitive as you can (in practice), but we just haven't played."

Nebraska will leave for Starkville, Mississippi, early Tuesday afternoon and practice at Mississippi State's Humphrey Coliseum after arrival. 

Wednesday's game will be televised on ESPN2.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7436 or On Twitter @HuskerExtraCB.


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