Three Bay Area teams saw their seasons extended by receiving bids Sunday to the National Invitation Tournament, and Cal, Saint Mary's and USF all will host first-round games this week.
No. 5 seed Utah (21-11) will play at No. 4 seed Saint Mary's (22-11) at 8 p.m. Tuesday. On Wednesday, No. 5 seed LSU (19-13) will play at No. 4 seed USF (21-11) at 7 p.m., and No. 7 seed Utah Valley (20-11) will play at No. 2 seed Cal (19-13) at 7:30 p.m.
The SMC-Utah winner will advance to meet the winner of a first-round game between No. 8 seed High Point (16-14) and No. 1 seed Minnesota (20-13). The LSU-USF winner will advance to play the winner of a first-round game between No. 8 seed UC Irvine (23-11) and No. 1 seed SMU (23-9). The Cal-Utah Valley winner will meet the winner of a first-round game between No. 6 seed Indiana State (23-10) and No. 3 seed Arkansas (21-11).
The 32-team NIT field includes 13 automatic qualifiers, teams that won their regular-season conference titles without getting an NCAA bid. Utah Valley won the regular-season Western Athletic Conference title, then lost to Idaho in the WAC tournament semifinals.
Cal fell short of an NCAA tournament bid after losing to Colorado in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament.
"We've got nobody to blame but ourselves," Cal coach Mike Montgomery said. "There were so many opportunities for us to make it a no-brainer, and we just weren't able to do that."
Cal and Utah Valley have played once. The Bears won 85-51 on Dec. 28, 2009, in the Golden Bear Classic in Berkeley.
"Our concern right now is to try to play better basketball than we have, try to prepare for Utah Valley," Montgomery said. "They're going to come in with a lot of pride. They're going to come in here with a lot of incentive. That's a school that has not had a lot of tradition of playing in tournaments. They're probably pretty excited. I've had experience with teams that really didn't want to be in the NIT, and that's the death knell if you don't want to be there."
Staff writer Jimmy Durkin and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
TUESDAY: Utah (21-11) at Saint Mary's (22-11), 8 p.m. ESPN2
WEDNESDAY: LSU (19-13) at USF (21-11), 7 p.m. ESPNU
WEDNESDAY: Utah Valley (20-11) at Cal (19-13), 7:30 p.m.