March 1 (UPI) -- The National Invitation Tournament is cutting its field in half and moving its annual men's basketball tournament to Texas this month amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCAA announced Monday.
The NIT will consist of only 16 teams and take place in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Games will be held at Comerica Center in Frisco and at UNT Coliseum on North Texas' campus in Denton.
In previous years, the NIT -- college basketball's oldest postseason tournament -- has featured 32 teams competing at campus sites until the semifinals and championship game at Madison Square Garden in New York.
It is the first time in the 83-year history of the tournament that the NIT won't conclude in New York.
Another notable change is the invitation process for this month's tournament. Since 2017, all regular-season champions who didn't win their conference tournament earned an automatic bid to the NIT, with the remainder of the field consisting of at-large selections.
Because of the reduced field for this year's event, all 16 teams will be at-large selections with no automatic qualifiers.
The NIT wasn't staged last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving Texas as the defending champion. The Longhorns beat Lipscomb in the 2019 title game.