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Vanderbilt makes NIT, will host Belmont in first round

OH REALLY?!

NCAA Basketball: SEC Conference Tournament-Kentucky vs Vanderbilt Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time since 2017, Vanderbilt’s basketball season is not ending with the SEC Tournament. The Commodores were selected for the NIT and will host Belmont in the first round, the NCAA announced Sunday night.

Vanderbilt finished the regular season with a 17-16 record after losing to Kentucky in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament on Friday. That was good enough to earn the program its first NIT bid since 2015, and its first postseason tournament of any kind since the 2017 NCAA Tournament.

Belmont, with a 25-7 record, is in the postseason for the first time since 2019 (though they would have made the NCAA Tournament in 2020.) The Bruins beat Vanderbilt 69-60 the last time the teams played on November 13, 2017, a game weirdly overshadowed by Darius Garland signing earlier in the day.

Should Vanderbilt win, their next game would be against either 1-seed Dayton or Toledo; interestingly, Dayton will play its first NIT game on the road due to its home arena being in use.

The first game will be played at 6 PM CT on Tuesday, televised on ESPN2.