Oklahoma, Dayton, SMU, Texas A&M headline NIT field

Texas A&M guard Wade Taylor IV (4) drives against Tennessee guard Kennedy Chandler (1) during the first half of an NCAA men's college basketball Southeastern Conference tournament championship game Sunday, March 13, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) (Chris O'Meara, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Dayton, Oklahoma, SMU and Texas A&M earned top seeds Sunday night in the National Invitation Tournament, part of a field that also includes recent national champions.

Virginia (19-13), which won its first national title in 2019, will host Mississippi State (18-15) in what could be the last game for Bulldogs coach Ben Howland, whose future with the program beyond the NIT is in doubt.

Howland is 134-97 in seven seasons at Mississippi State, with one NCAA Tournament appearance.

Florida (19-13), which won back-to-back national titles in 2006 and 2007, will face Iona (25-7) and coach Rick Pitino, who guided Kentucky to the national championship in 1996. Pitino also won a national title with Louisville in 2013, but the NCAA later vacated that result because of an escort sex scandal investigated during that period.

Dayton (23-10) will play at Toledo despite its top seeding because its arena hosts NCAA Tournament play-in games on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Flyers are making their 27th appearance in the field, most among 2022 invitees.

Among the other top seeds, Oklahoma (18-15) will host Missouri State (23-10 in the first round; SMU (23-8) will host Nicholls (21-11) and Texas A&M (23-11) will host Alcorn (17-16).

Only the top half of the 32-team field was seeded. The bottom 16 were placed in brackets as close to their area of natural interest as possible.

Texas A&M was considered a big snub by the NCAA Tournament selection committee. Other notable snubs in the NIT field include Wake Forest (23-9), which will host Towson (25-8); Xavier (18-13), which will host Cleveland State (20-10); BYU (22-10), which will host Long Beach State (20-12); and VCU (21-9), which will host Princeton (23-5).

First-round games will be played March 15-16 and the second round from March 19-20. The tournament then moves to Madison Square Garden in New York for the semifinals on March 29 and the championship on March 31.

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