Oregon Ducks women's basketball plans watch party for NCAA Tournament seeding

Boston College's Jerome Robinson drives past Notre Dame's TJ Gibbs during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Boston Saturday Feb. 17 2018. Notre Dame won 84-67

What's the next step for UW? The NIT and a chance for the Huskies to “get better”

They haven't played against each other in the NIT since 1987. BSU, despite getting a bye, fell in its only conference tournament game, 78-75, to Utah State. The Ducks have reached the NIT Final Four in NY on three occasions: 1975, 1999 and 2004. They also average 8.0 steals and 5.1 blocks per game, both of which rank in the top 25 for those categories. When Marquette was more of a sure bet to make the tournament in 2016-'17, players celebrated with fans in the Union Sports Annex, a campus sports bar where tourney-bound Marquette teams tend to hold viewing parties.

Oregon's star sophomore, who was the Pac-12 player of the year and conference tournament most outstanding player, was named a first-team all-American by USA Today and ESPN. The Huskies (20-12, 10-8 Pac-12) will tip off against 4-seed Boise State Wednesday at 7 p.m.at Alaska Airlines Arena. That's the reaction of a team that couldn't have predicted, coming off a 7-22 campaign, that they'd make the NCAA tournament.

A late-season skid saw the Huskies go from being a potential entry to a bubble team to needing major help just to get back in the conversation. For comparison's sake, the Broncs score 81.7 points per game (30th nationally) and shoot 46.5 percent from the field.

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The tournament runs through March 29, with the semifinals and final played at Madison Square Garden in NY.

Several Pac-12 teams could await in the second round, or maybe UW coach Mike Hopkins will face his alma mater, Syracuse, and his mentor in coach Jim Boeheim.

Then, the Huskies would lose three straight and end the year losing six of their last nine games.

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Northern Kentucky (22-9) at Louisville (20-13), 4 p.m. Step No. 1 is to win as many games as possible while the following sequence is to use the NIT as a chance to develop and improve ahead of the 2018-19 season.

The potential capacity for the game is just like a regular home game - 22,000 seats available. They had a tough Big East schedule facing some top teams Xavier twice and Villanova three times.

It will be the first-ever meeting between Nebraska and Arizona State in the postseason, and the only previous neutral site meeting between the schools came in the first match-up, a 71-69 Husker win at the California Invitational on November 29, 1979.

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Boise State Associate Athletic Director Joe Nickell says hosting these games is a great opportunity for the university and the city of Boise. The other two pairings in this section of the bracket include Hampton at Notre Dame and Temple at Penn State.

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