Virginia Tech received its road to Madison Square Garden Wednesday as the bracket for the 2011 NIT Season Tip-Off was released (H/T SBN Bay Area for the bracket linked below). The Hokies will host the first and second rounds of the tournament at Cassell Coliseum Nov. 14-16.
Tech will square off with Monmouth from the Northeast Conference in the first round. The winner will play either Paul Hewitt-led George Mason or Isaiah Thomas-led Florida International. The winner of that second round game will advance to New York for the NIT semifinals.
Full NIT Bracket (PDF)
Tech will attempt to make it to MSG in the preseason version of the NIT after failing to do so in the postseason version each of the last four seasons. They'll be favored to make the trip as the No. 4 seed in the tournament and host in the first two rounds. The other three tops seeds that will host games are No. 1 Syracuse, No. 2 Oklahoma State and No. 3 Stanford.
Looking far down the road into the land of the hypothetical, Tech's pod is matched up with Syracuse's in the NIT semis, meaning a possible game against the Orange in NYC. The tournament also presents the possibility of another matchup with OSU, which the Hokies are scheduled to face Dec. 31 in Stillwater.
Participation in the tournament is a good thing for the Hokies and their non-conference schedule. If the Hokies pick up some wins and the bracket plays out a certain way, they could face three solid teams in George Mason, Syracuse and OSU.