Men's Basketball

UC Davis men get No. 7 seed in NIT, will face Pac-12 team in opener

TJ Shorts II and UC Davis will play against Utah on Wednesday in the first round of the NIT.
TJ Shorts II and UC Davis will play against Utah on Wednesday in the first round of the NIT. pkitagaki@sacbee.com

Next up for the UC Davis men's basketball team: A trip to Salt Lake City.

The Aggies received the seventh seed in Region 4 of the National Invitation Tournament and will face No. 2 Utah on Wednesday at 6 p.m.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">.<a href="https://twitter.com/UCDavisMBB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@UCDavisMBB</a> will face Utah, in Salt Lake City on Wednesday. 6p PT/7p MT tipoff. (NOTE: All times Eastern when you click the link below: Full Bracket with dates/times <a href="https://t.co/fcvbUXpAPA">https://t.co/fcvbUXpAPA</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoAgs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoAgs</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/BigWestMBB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BigWestMBB</a></p>&mdash; UCDavisMBB (@UCDavisMBB) <a href="https://twitter.com/UCDavisMBB/status/973000321013133313?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 12, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

The Aggies (22-10) clinched at least an NIT bid by winning the Big West Conference regular-season title, but their hopes to return to the big dance were dashed Friday when top-seeded UC Davis was upset in a 55-52 conference tournament loss to No. 4 Cal State Fullerton in Anaheim. Fullerton went on to win the conference tournament, seeded No. 15 in the East region on Selection Sunday.

UC Davis, which made its first NCAA Tournament appearance last year and won a First Four game over North Carolina Central, lost to top-seeded Kansas in a Midwest Regional matchup.

The Aggies are led by junior guard TJ Shorts II, who has averaged 15 points and 4.4 assists per game while shooting 52.5 percent from the floor. Shorts, the Big West player of the year, has become the team leader after star big man Chima Moneke was suspended indefinitely.

UC Davis will have tough competition in the Utes (19-11, 11-7), who finished fourth in the Pacific-12 Conference. Utah is led by senior guard Justin Bibbins, who averages 14.6 points and 4.8 assists per game and shoots 45.1 percent from 3-point range.

The winner of Wednesday's game will face either No. 3 LSU or No. 6 Louisiana-Lafayette in the second round of the 32-team tournament.

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