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Tigers return to postseason, host San Diego in NIT on Tuesday

The Tigers beat UCF in a blowout Friday.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The University of Memphis will be a No. 3 seed in the National Invitation Tournament that starts this week and will play No. 6 seed San Diego Tuesday night at FedExForum in an opening-round game.

Tipoff is 7 p.m. and the game will be shown on ESPN3.com or WatchESPN.com.

Tickets will go on sale via GoTigersGoTix.com by 8 a.m. Monday. The ticket office located inside the Penny Hardaway Hall of Fame on Normal near Southern opens at 8:30 a.m. Monday. Uof M students will be able to purchase tickets for $5 each with valid university ID.

The Tigers (21-13) reached the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference Championship at FedExForum before losing to top seed and 11th-ranked Houston, 61-58. The Toreros (21-14) reached the semifinals of the West Coast Conference before falling to Saint Mary’s.

San Diego, which posted back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time, is led by senior forward Isaiah Wright. Wright is averaging 19.1 points and 9.5 rebounds.

Memphis, under first-year coach Penny Hardaway, will be playing in its first postseason event since the 2013-14 season. The Tigers participated in the 2014 NCAA tournament, where they fell during the opening weekend to Virginia in a third-round game.

The Tigers were last in the NIT during the 2009-10 season, Josh Pastner’s first at the UofM. The UofM beat St. John’s in an opening-round game, but fell to Ole Miss, 90-81, in a second-round game played at Oxford, Miss.

The Tigers own an NIT title, winning in 2002 under coach John Calipari. Memphis won the title game, 72-62, over South Carolina. Dajuan Wagner was the MVP.

This year’s team has been led by senior guard Jeremiah Martin, whose 19.7 scoring average paces the American Athletic Conference. He was a unanimous first-team, all-conference selection and was voted to the AAC all-tournament team Sunday.

Martin scored 23 points in the team’s loss to Houston. He is the 10th-leading scorer in the program’s history.

First round NIT play is scheduled Tuesday and Wednesday in the 32-team postseason event. Second-round games run Thursday through March 25.

The quarterfinals will be held March 26 and 27 and four teams will advance to New York for the semifinals on Tuesday, April 2. The NIT will conclude with the championship game on Thursday, April 4. The semifinal and championship games will be played at Madison Square Garden for the 82nd year.

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