AP source: NIT leaving Madison Square Garden next 2 years

NEW YORK (AP) — Madison Square Garden won’t host the NIT semifinals and championship game the next two years, according to a person with direct knowledge of the decision — ending a college basketball tradition that dates to 1938.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity late Wednesday night because no public announcement had been made.

ESPN, citing anonymous sources, was first to report the change and said 2023 and 2024 are available for bid, with potential locations ranging from resort areas such as Las Vegas to historic arenas like Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Nothing has been determined beyond 2024.

College basketball’s oldest major postseason tournament — and once its most prestigious — the National Invitation Tournament has played games at MSG since its inception in 1938. The entire event was held at “The World’s Most Famous Arena” until 1977, when early rounds were shifted to campus and regional sites.

Since then, The Garden has still hosted the semifinals and finals, making the season-ending trip to New York City an attractive carrot for teams left out of the NCAA Tournament.

Last year was an exception, when the whole tournament was played in North Texas with a reduced field because of the coronavirus pandemic that also forced cancellation of the 2020 edition.

Next week, the NIT returns to MSG when Xavier plays St. Bonaventure in the first semifinal Tuesday night followed by Texas A&M against Washington State.

The winners meet for the championship Thursday night.

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More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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