Top-seeded Baylor looks to get over the shock of missing the NCAA Tournament when it hosts No. 8 seed Wagner in the first round of the NIT on Tuesday. The Bears, who were one of the first four teams left out of March Madness, dropped four of their last five games to miss the NCAA Tournament for the first time in five years and hope to bounce back by rediscovering the formula which led them to the NIT title in 2013.

"It was obviously disappointing not having a chance to be in the NCAA Tournament but at the same time it's a great opportunity to be a No. 1 seed in the NIT," Baylor coach Scott Drew told reporters. "We've had success in the NIT before and I know it's an outstanding accomplishment to be able to play in any postseason. Wagner won the Northeast Conference regular season championship and hoped to make its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2003, but its dreams were dashed by LIU Brooklyn in the NEC title game. The Seahawks had won 16 straight home game before falling to the Blackbirds 71-61 as they were held to a season-low 30 percent shooting from the field, and hope to knock off a Power 5 team for the first time since Nov. 11, 2016. "We are thrilled to be a part of postseason play in the NIT," Wagner coach Bashir Mason told reporters. "This is a huge accomplishment for our program and we look forward to competing against top-level competition in the field."

TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2

ABOUT WAGNER (23-9): Romone Saunders was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 17.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and two steals over three games. Saunders led the way with 17 points while JoJo Cooper, who also received all-tournament team honors, added 11 points, eight assists and six rebounds, but it wasn't enough as the Seahawks were doomed by a 6-for-33 performance from 3-point range. Blake Francis, who leads the team in scoring (17.1), was limited to eight points on 3-for-17 shooting from the floor, including 2-of-13 from 3-point land.

ABOUT BAYLOR (18-14): Manu Lecomte went 10-of-11 from the free throw line en route to 27 points and matched a career high with six rebounds in the 78-65 loss to West Virginia in the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals. Lecomte's 27 points were the most by a Baylor player in a conference tournament game since Pierre Jackson poured in 31 against Oklahoma State in 2013. Terry Maston was the only other Bear to finish in double figures as he scored 11 points against the Mountaineers while Nuni Omot added eight points, but committed seven of Baylor's 22 turnovers.

TIP-INS

1. Baylor is 9-1 in its last 10 NIT games.

2. Wagner is 1-3 all-time in the NIT.

3. The winner will play Mississippi State or Nebraska in the second round.

PREDICTION: Baylor 78, Wagner 68


NCAA Basketball , basketball