Gophers make NIT, will play at La Salle on Wednesday

Minnesota earned a No. 6 seed in the tournament, ahead of Iowa and behind Northwestern.

Minnesota guard Austin Hollins attempts a basket during a game against Michigan State on Wednesday at Williams Arena.

Anthony Kwan, Daily File Photo

Minnesota guard Austin Hollins attempts a basket during a game against Michigan State on Wednesday at Williams Arena.

Charlie Armitz

The Gophers will play at La Salle University in Philadelphia, Pa., in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament on Wednesday.

Minnesota, a No. 6 seed, joined Northwestern (No. 4 seed) and Iowa (No. 7 seed) as the three Big Ten teams in the NIT when the 32-team field was announced Sunday.

Six Big Ten teams made the NCAA tournament, and three teams — Illinois, Penn State and Nebraska — were left out of postseason play entirely.

The Gophers (7-13 Big Ten) got in ahead of Iowa (9-11 Big Ten) despite losing six of their last seven conference games. In the conference tournament, Minnesota upset Northwestern in the first round and lost to Michigan in the second round.

“We have been playing well of late and this gives our young team the opportunity to experience what postseason basketball is all about,” head coach Tubby Smith said in a release.

La Salle, a No. 3 seed, finished 9-7 in the Atlantic 10 conference. The Explorers lost in the second round of the Atlantic 10 championship Friday to St. Louis — a No. 9 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Minnesota finished the season 19-14 overall; La Salle was 21-12.

If the Gophers beat La Salle, they will play the winner of Miami (Fla.) and Valparaiso.

The full NIT bracket can be viewed here.

Notes

– Gophers freshman Andre Hollins was named Sunday to the All-Big Ten tournament team. Hollins averaged 23.0 points in two conference tournament games, scoring a career-high 25 points in Minnesota’s win against Northwestern.

– Hollins joined four players from Sunday’s title game — Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas, and Michigan State’s Draymond Green and Brandon Wood — on the all-tournament team.

– Green was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

– Michigan State earned the No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament’s West region. Ohio State earned the No. 2 seed in the East region.

– Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana each received a No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament. The Big Ten’s sixth team, Purdue, received a No. 10 seed.

– The full NCAA tournament bracket can be viewed here.