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Sam Houston State and Oklahoma State basketball are two of the top four seeds in the NIT. As such, they are given the opportunity to host every game at their home gyms until the Final Four, which will be played away from Madison Square Garden for the first time.
However, neither the Bearkats nor the Cowboys will host their First Round games in 2023. They both have scheduling conflicts that prevent them from playing at home.
Instead, both schools will be significant betting favorites on the road, which is not typically the case.
The NIT First Round will look a little bit different.
Sam Houston State went 25-5 in the regular season and earned a No. 1 seed in the WAC Tournament. It missed out on The Big Dance after losing to No. 5 seed Grand Canyon in the conference tournament semifinal Friday.
Now, as the No. 2 seed in the NIT, Sam Houston State was paired with 23-9 Santa Clara. The Bearkats would have have hosted the Broncos in Huntsville, Texas, on Wednesday, if everything went by the book— but it won’t.
Sam Houston State will get on a flight to California and play Santa Clara in Santa Clara, which is just outside of San Jose. The “home game” will be played almost 2,000 miles away.
Oklahoma State, one of the ‘First Four Out’ of March Madness, will be in a similar situation. The Cowboys were firmly on the bubble entering Selection Sunday, but got left out in favor of three teams with a lower NET ranking.
They were given the No. 1 overall seed in the NIT, which would have set them up to host the Youngstown State Penguins on Wednesday. Rather, due to a scheduling conflict in Stillwater, Oklahoma State will play in Ohio, not Oklahoma— about 1,000 miles away.
Fortunately, for both schools, travel is comped by the tournament itself. Neither team will have to pay for their travel to “home” games, but having to hit the road as a higher seed and losing the home-court advantage is less-than ideal!