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Appalachian State Men’s Basketball Earns Bid to NIT

After a record-breaking season that included the program’s first outright conference regular-season championship in 45 years, the App State men’s basketball team has been selected to participate in the National Invitation Tournament, the selection committee announced Sunday.

App State will travel to Winston-Salem to take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. The day, time and network details for the App State-Wake Forest game have not been announced.

“Playing in the postseason is a huge deal,” head coach Dustin Kerns said. “Playing in a high level single elimination tournament on national TV is also a huge deal. This is another stair taken in the evolution of our program. No one on our team has ever played in the NIT, so this will be a great experience for everyone. The NIT is viewed with great respect and has a ton of history and for or program to get an at-large bid is a massive compliment to the regular season we had. We got knocked down, but the NIT is our opportunity to get right back up, which is what great teams do.”

The Mountaineers broke several program records in 2023-24, including the previous wins record of 25, surpassing that with a win against Arkansas State at home on March 1. App State suffered just five losses in regular-season play, marking the fewest losses in regular-season play since the 1978-79 season.

Of the Mountaineers’ 27 wins this season, 16 of them came in Sun Belt Conference play, which set another program record for the most conference wins in a season. With a 16-2 regular-season conference record, the Mountaineers set the program record for the best winning percentage in program history. This led to the Mountaineers claiming the one seed at the Sun Belt Conference Tournament, its first time being the conference tournament top seed since 1978-79.

Additionally, the Mountaineers were undefeated at home this season for the first time in the Division I era. App State was the only team in the Sun Belt Conference to be unbeaten at home in 2023-24. The Mountaineers also set a Holmes Center regular-season attendance record in 2023-24.

Capping off the historic season, four Mountaineers garnered All-Sun Belt postseason honors, which is the most All-Sun Belt honorees for App State as a member of the league. Donovan Gregory and Tre’Von Spillers were each named All-Sun Belt first team, marking the first time that App State has had two all-conference first-team selections since 1999-00.

Along with the All-Sun Belt selections, head coach Dustin Kerns was named the Sun Belt Coach of the Year. It was the first time since 2003 that a Mountaineer head coach has taken home Coach of the Year honors.

App State’s invitation to the NIT marks the Mountaineers’ second appearance in the tournament, with the other instance occurring in the 2006-07 season. The Mountaineers will make their third appearance in a postseason tournament under Kerns and the seventh postseason tournament appearance in program history.

Overall, the Mountaineers have won two games in postseason play, with both coming at the 2010 Postseason Tournament.