March 14, 2011 — Coral Gables — The second-seeded University of Miami men's basketball team will play host to seventh-seeded Florida Atlantic in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament on Wed., March 16, at 7:30 p.m. at the BankUnited Center. ESPN3 will stream the game online.(NIT Bracket)
"We are happy to be back in the postseason and have the opportunity to compete for a championship," said head coach Frank Haith. "This gives us an opportunity to continue to grow as a team. We are very excited to start off at home, but realize we will have a tough first round matchup against FAU. They are a team that won their league and has improved since the last time we played them."
The Hurricanes (19-14) own the 19-1 all-time series lead over the Owls (21-10), including an 85-69 win at home on Jan. 5, 2009 and the 87-69 decision on Dec. 19, 2009, at the BankAtlantic Center as part of the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic.
The winner advances to the second round to take on the winner of the contest between third-seeded Missouri State (25-8) and sixth-seeded Murray State (23-8). Those two teams square off in Springfield, Mo., on Tuesday at 8 p.m. Should Miami win its game on Wednesday, the Hurricanes will host that second round match on March 18, 19, 20 or 21st.
Miami is making its fifth postseason appearance in seven seasons under Haith. It marks the 16th postseason appearance for the Hurricanes and the 10th NIT appearance in program history. Miami advanced to the second round in the 2008-09 NIT, knocking off Providence on the road before falling at Florida.
Miami is led by Third Team All-ACC pick Malcolm Grant, who averages 14.9 points and 3.3 assists per game, while hitting an ACC-high 2.7 three-pointers per game at an ACC-best .432 clip and shoots a league-best .862 from the line. Durand Scott adds 13.1 points, 4.3 boards and 3.1 assists an outing, while ACC honorable mention selection Reggie Johnson contributes 11.9 points and a team-high 9.4 rebounds per game.
FAU - who has matched a program high with 21 wins this season - earned an automatic bid to the NIT after winning the Sun Belt's regular-season title. The Owls are led by Sun Belt First Team selection Raymond Taylor, a 5-6 guard that averages 11.7 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game, Second Team pick Greg Gantt with a team-high 13.9 points per game and two-time Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year Brett Royster with 8.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game.
Tickets are $5 for UM students, while non-student tickets begin at $10. H100 seating is $25, while floor and suite tickets are $50. Season ticket holders will have the opportunity to purchase tickets from their same location from 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. on Monday. They will be able to purchase in-person at the Hurricane Ticket Office, online through 'My Account' or over the phone at 1-800-GO-CANES. All open inventory is available to purchase at 8:30 a.m. by calling 1-800-GO-CANES or in person at the Hurricane Ticket Office. At 5:00 p.m. on Monday, all seats will be available for purchase via Ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-GO-CANES.
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