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August 20, 2008

Johnnies head to Boston for NIT

St. John's To Head To Boston For Opening Rounds Of 2008 NIT Season Tip-Off

No. 8 seed Red Storm to face ninth-seeded Cornell Big Red in the Eastern Regional.

QUEENS, N.Y. (Aug. 19, 2008) - St. John's will head to Chestnut Hill, Mass., to the Conte Forum at Boston College for the opening rounds of the 2008 Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off on Nov. 17 and 18. The Red Storm, which heads into the 16-team tournament seeded at No. 8, will take on ninth-seeded Cornell in its first round game. No. 4 seed and host school Boston College meets Loyola (Md.) in the East Regional opening game, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m.

Top-seeded Purdue, No. 2 seed Oklahoma and No. 3 seed Arizona host the North, South and West Regionals, respectively, at their home arenas.

The NIT Season Tip-Off, which began in 1985, has evolved to an enhanced format in 2008 that guarantees every team four games. The first and second round games are played at the home sites of the four highest-seeded teams. The winners of those sites move onto The World's Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden, over the Thanksgiving holiday for the semifinal and championship doubleheaders Nov. 26 and 28.

The remaining 12 teams will play third and fourth round games on Nov. 24 and 25. These consolation contents will be played on the home campus sites of the three highest remaining seeds. Participating teams will not play any team twice and third and fourth rounds will be assigned to the most geographically compatible site possible.

ESPN will provide coverage throughout the event, televising games on ESPN2 and ESPNU, with select games also simulcast on ESPN360.com.

All-time, St. John's owns an 8-5 record in Preseason NIT games, making appearances in 1985 (third place), 1989 (second place), 1993 and 1998 (fourth place). The STJ basketball program enjoys a prolific history with the Postseason NIT as well, with an unprecedented 26 appearances and five titles dating to when that event was considered the marquee postseason tournament.

Four starters and 10 letterwinners return for head coach Norm Roberts and the Red Storm in 2008-09, including an All-BIG EAST honorable mention selection in senior Anthony Mason Jr. (14.0 points per game, 4.4 rebounds) and BIG EAST All-Rookie team member Justin Burrell (10.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg).

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