Arkansas to play Providence in NIT

By: Scottie Bordelon
Published: Sunday, March 17, 2019
Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson signals to his players in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Florida at the Southeastern Conference tournament Thursday, March 14, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. Florida won 66-50. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson signals to his players in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Florida at the Southeastern Conference tournament Thursday, March 14, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. Florida won 66-50. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas basketball will play at least one more game this season.

The Razorbacks, which lost 66-50 to Florida in the second round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament on Thursday, have accepted an invitation to play in the National Invitational Tournament and will travel to face Providence as a No. 5 seed.

Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. Tuesday. The game will air on ESPN2.

The winner of the game will likely move on to face No. 1 seed Indiana, who Arkansas beat 73-72 on Nov. 18 in Bud Walton Arena.

This will be the Razorbacks' second NIT appearance under coach Mike Anderson, and fourth overall. Arkansas is 5-4 all-time in the NIT, most recently defeating Indiana State 91-71 in 2014 in Fayetteville before traveling to play California and losing 75-64.

Clemson, Furman, Wichita State, Wright State and St. Francis round out Arkansas' portion of the bracket. Alabama, a No. 1 seed, is the only other SEC school in the field of 32.

Providence, headed by eighth-year coach Ed Cooley, will enter the NIT with an 18-15 record. The Friars, which finished 7-11 in Big East play and lost to Villanova in the second round of its conference tournament, had made the NCAA Tournament each of the last five seasons.

Providence was led in scoring by 6-7 junior guard Alpha Diallo. He averaged 16.1 points and eight rebounds in 33 games and 15.2 points and 7.8 rebounds in Big East play. Diallo finished with 20-plus points in 10 games.

Experimental rules will be implemented during the NIT. The 3-point line will be extended to 22 feet, 1.75 inches to match FIBA international rules; the free throw lane will be widened to 16 feet; the shot clock, following an offensive rebound, will reset to 20 seconds; and team fouls will reset at the 10-minute mark of each half. One-and-one free throws will be eliminated.

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