The Fresno State men's season continues, the 'Dogs are NIT-bound

FRESNO, Calif. --- The Fresno State men's basketball team will play at Texas Christian University in the First Round of the 2017 National Invitational Tournament on Wednesday at 5 p.m. PT. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 and 940 AM ESPN Radio.

"You never take postseason for granted," Fresno State head coach Rodney Terry said. "It's always an honor to be playing at this time of year, because you're going to be playing against some of the best teams in the country and everybody has had a great year if they're still playing. For our program to still be doing that, it's going to help us get better all the way around."

Fresno State will be the No. 5 seed in the Iowa Quadrant, with TCU as the No. 4 seed. The winner of Wednesday's Fresno State-TCU game in Forth Worth, Texas, will meet the winner of No. 1-seed Iowa and No. 8-seed South Dakota in the NIT's Second Round at a site to be determined.

"Our younger guys get a chance to play at an elite level in a one-and-done type of situation and obviously the exposure is big for your program," Terry added. "The way we finished gave us an opportunity to do this and we ended up being a No. 5 seed. The committee gave us a good look and respected our resume."

The Bulldogs, who is 20-12 with eight wins over Top 100 RPI teams this season, are making back-to-back postseason appearances for the first time since the 1999-2000 and 2000-01 seasons. Fresno State has now qualified for a postseason tournament in three of the last four years.

"It's definitely huge for the program and the community of Fresno," Fresno State senior guard/forward Paul Watson said. "The program has been on the rise for a while now and the guys coming in are just trying to be a part of building a great culture here. It's moving in the right direction."

Fresno State is one of three Mountain West programs to earn one of 32 bids into the 2017 NIT, which is a single-elimination tournament played at campus sites for the first three rounds before moving to Madison Square Garden in New York City for the national semifinals and finals. Colorado State and Boise State also will play in the invitation-only postseason tournament run by the NCAA.

"It's a pretty good feeling," Watson said of making the NIT. "We've worked hard all year and we earned the spot that we're in right now. It was a good moment, not only for myself but for my guys, especially the younger guys will get that postseason experience."

This will be the ninth all-time meeting between Fresno State and TCU with the Horned Frogs leading the all-time series 4-2, as the Bulldogs were forced to vacate two wins in the series. Fresno State is 1-2 all-time when playing TCU in Fort Worth. Fresno State and TCU last played each other in 2001 when both were members of the Western Athletic Conference.

"I do know they're well coached," Terry said of TCU. "Jamie Dixon is one of the best coaches in the country. We had a chance to coach against one of his teams at Pitt. His teams are always hard-nosed and he's really had a great first year there at TCU. They just beat the No. 1 team (Kansas) in the country ... that's all you need to know."

This is Fresno State's 10th NIT appearance in program history and the first since 2007. Fresno State is 14-9 all-time in the NIT. The Bulldogs have made two NIT Final Fours and won the 1983 NIT Championship.

During this season's NIT, the games will be played with a few experimental rule changes with the game clock resetting to 20 seconds (instead of 30 seconds) in select situations and the dividing of the halves into 10 minute segments, which allow for the resetting of fouls and the elimination of 1-and-1 free throw opportunities.

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