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Provo • For the second time in four years, BYU's men's basketball team will play in the National Invitation Tournament, snapping the school's two-year run of appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
The Cougars (23-10) got a No. 2 seed, and will play host to No. 7 seed Alabama-Birmingham (26-6) on Wednesday at 8 p.m. at the Marriott Center. The first matchup between the Cougars and Blazers since 1989 will be televised by ESPNU.
The Cougars won the NIT 50 years ago, taking the 1966 crown, and also won the championship in 1951.
If BYU manages to beat a UAB team that won nine of its last 10 regular-season games before falling to Western Kentucky in the Conference USA tournament quarterfinals, the Cougars will play host to either No. 3 Virginia Tech or No. 6 Princeton.
Second-round games will be played Thursday through Monday, March 21.
Because the Marriott Center is booked on Saturday for a cultural celebration, a potential second-round game would have to be played Friday or Monday.
The No. 1-seeded team in BYU's fourth of the bracket is Saint Bonaventure, meaning that if seeds hold true, the Cougars would play at the Bonnies' home in Western New York for the right to advance to the semifinals in New York City. Other top seeds are Monmouth, South Carolina and Valparaiso.
UAB plays an uptempo style similar to BYU's, and averages 79 points per game, 43rd in the country. The Cougars average 83.6 ppg., eighth-best in the country.
The Blazers are led in scoring by guard Robert Brown (13.5 ppg.), a C-USA first team selection, and forward Chris Cokley, a 57-percent shooter who averages 13.1 points and 6.4 rebounds. Point guard Nick Norton averages 5.2 assists per game. They went 10-3 in true road games.
This is BYU's 12th appearance in the NIT, and third since the secondary tournament went to seeding teams in 2006. BYU received a No. 3 seed in the 2013 NIT, and won three games before losing to Baylor in the semifinals at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The Cougars were a No. 6 seed in coach Dave Rose's first year, 2005-06, and fell at Houston in the first round. They are 15-9 all-time in NIT games.
West Coast Conference co-champion Saint Mary's also received a No. 2 seed in the NIT and will play host to New Mexico State on Tuesday.
The Cougars faced five teams that made the NCAA tournament on Sunday and went 3-4 against them.
P Alabama-Birmingham (26-6) at BYU (23-10) Time • Wednesday, 8 p.m.
TV: ESPNU, 8 p.m.