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NIT Tournament Underway, NCAA Tournament On The Horizon

Last updated on Tuesday, March 17, 2009

(UNDATED) - In men’s college basketball, The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame open play in the NIT tonight as they welcome the Alabama-Birmingham Blazers to the Joyce Center.

The Fighting Irish have been off since last Wednesday when they lost to West Virginia in the second round of the Big East Tournament. They enter the NIT with an 18-and-14 record.

UAB is 22-and-11 and is in the NIT after losing to Tulsa last Friday in the semifinals of the Conference USA tournament. The Blazers are coached by former Indiana University coach Mike Davis and are led in scoring by Indianapolis native and IU transfer Robert Vaden.

Purdue and Butler open play in the NCAAournament on Thursday afternoon. The Boilermakers are the number-five seed in the west regional and will face Northern Iowa in Portland, Oregon. Both teams are champions of their conference tournaments with Purdue taking the Big Ten crown and the Panthers winning the Missouri Valley Conference tournament.

Butler is the number-nine seed in the south regional. They will take on number-eight seed LSU at Greensboro, North Carolina. The Bulldogs lost to Cleveland State in the championship game of the Horizon League Tournament while LSU fell to Mississippi State in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament last Saturday.

Purdue moved up and Butler went down in this week's ESPN/USA Today men's college basketball coaches' poll. The Boilers went from 24th to 18th in this week's poll on the strength of their win in the Big Ten Tournament. The Bulldogs dropped from 17th to 23rd after losing to Cleveland State in the championship game of the Horizon League Tournament last Tuesday night.

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