LAFAYETTE – The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns men’s basketball team will make the 50-minute trip east to Baton Rouge on Wednesday to face LSU in the first round of the NIT as the official 2018 bracket was released Sunday night.

Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. The game will be streamed live on ESPN3 and can be heard in the Lafayette area on KHXT 107.9-FM and the HOT 107.9 app.

Louisiana (27-6), the No. 6 seed and Sun Belt Conference regular-season champion, will make its first appearance in the NIT since 2003 and its sixth trip overall. The Ragin’ Cajuns advanced to the NIT Final Four in 1984 after earning a first-round victory at Utah State before claiming wins over Weber State and Santa Clara at Blackham Coliseum.

The meeting against LSU (17-14), the No. 3 seed in the Lower Right Bracket, will be the first between the schools since 2009.

$10 general admission tickets will be available through LSUTix.net. All Ragin’ Cajuns fans will be encouraged to sit in sections 218-222.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to continue to play and try to improve our basketball team,” head coach Bob Marlin said. “We’re excited to be in the NIT. We know the history of the tournament, and our fans remember the NIT and the great successes they had and the great trip to New York under coach (Bobby) Paschal.

“We’re excited, certainly with Frank (Bartley) and Johnathan (Stove) being from Baton Rouge, they know a lot of people there and their families are there, so they’re excited about going over and playing there.”

As per the norm at LSU home events, all the “Geaux Clear” bag rules will be in effect.

The 81st NIT will feature experimental rules intended to give the NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee, the Division I Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee and the Division I Men’s Basketball Competition Committee data as well as feedback to assist in making decisions regarding rules changes.

The 2018 NIT will feature four rules modifications:

The three-point line will be extended by approximately 1 foot 8 inches to the same distance used by FIBA for international competition (22 feet 1.75 inches).
The free throw lane will be widened from 12 to 16 feet, consistent with the width used by the NBA.
The games will be divided into four 10-minute quarters as opposed to two 20-minute halves. Teams will shoot two free throws beginning with the fifth foul of each quarter.
The shot clock will reset to 20 seconds after an offensive rebound instead of the full 30 seconds.

The experimental rules will help determine if a marginally more difficult three-point shot will be effective for men’s college basketball, and if widening the lane will reduce physicality and create more driving opportunities. In addition, the number of possessions and any impact on the pace and flow of the game will be evaluated.