New Mexico State's Theus to make debut in tourney

Updated: May 17, 2005, 10:27 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Duke and Wisconsin-Milwaukee, both of whom reached the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament last season, lead the field for the 2005 Preseason NIT.

The Blue Devils, who won the 16-team tournament in 1985 and 2000, will host Boston University in one of four opening-round games Nov. 14, the NIT said Tuesday.

Wisconsin-Milwaukee, making its debut in the Preseason NIT, plays at Memphis in one of the four first-round games Nov. 15.

The other games on Nov. 14 have Manhattan at Seton Hall, Sam Houston State at Missouri and Drexel at Princeton. On Nov. 15, Miami, Ohio, is at Alabama, Army is at Temple and New Mexico State is at UCLA.

The second round will be played Nov. 16 and 17 at campus sites, while the semifinals are at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 23, with the championship game on Nov. 25.

Duke, which has All-America guard J.J. Redick and center Shelden Williams returning to join one of the nation's best recruiting classes, lost to Michigan State in the NCAA's regional semifinals in March.

Wisconsin-Milwaukee stunned Alabama and Boston College before losing to top-ranked Illinois in the round of 16. Coach Bruce Pearl left for Tennessee after the school's most successful season, and Wisconsin assistant Rob Jeter takes over the program.

Another coach making his collegiate debut in the Preseason NIT will be New Mexico State's Reggie Theus, an assistant to Rick Pitino at Louisville. The Cardinals reached the Final Four last season.

Another coach sure to be under the spotlight when the tournament gets under way is Temple's John Chaney. The 73-year-old Chaney was suspended for five games at the end of last season for ordering rough play by one of his players in a game against Saint Joseph's.

Besides Duke and Wisconsin-Milwaukee, only Alabama and UCLA, losers in the first round, were in last season's NCAA tournament.

Wake Forest beat Arizona 63-60 in last year's Preseason NIT championship game.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press