• Quinnipiac University travels to Virginia Tech on Wednesday for a first-round NIT game.
  • The Bobcats (23-9) had the most successful season since the program went Division I in 1998.
  • Virginia Tech (23-8) is the No. 1 seed in the eight-team grouping in the 32-team tournament.
First, the name. It's pronounced KWIN-uh-PEE-ak. It's a Native-American term meaning, "He who rests in the shadow of Jim Calhoun."

Just kidding. Quinnipiac University, Virginia Tech's first-round NIT opponent Wednesday, is located in Hamden, Conn., approximately 40 miles south of Hartford and 90 minutes from New York City.

It has 5,700 undergrads, a couple of thousand graduate students and is routinely mentioned in U.S. News & World Report's list of Best Colleges.

It's well known for its polling institute, which surveys people in several states about regional and national issues, and whose results are often cited by national news media outlets.

Quinnipiac is also developing a reputation for basketball. The Bobcats (23-9) had the most successful season since the program went Division I in 1998 and are playing in their first national tournament.

Quinnipiac tied for the Northeast Conference regular season title at 15-3, but lost to co-champ Robert Morris in the tournament championship game, thus automatically qualifying for the NIT.

Coach Tom Moore, in his third year, came to Quinnipiac after 13 seasons as an assistant under Calhoun at Connecticut, where he was associate head coach his last two seasons.

In his first season, Moore coached the Bobcats to a 15-15 record, their first non-losing season since 2003. In three years under Moore, they are 53-40 overall, 36-18 in conference play.

The Bobcats are led by all-conference forward Justin Rutty, a 6-foot-7 junior averaging 15.1 points and 11 rebounds per game.

Guard James Feldeine, a 6-4 senior, averages 17 points per game. Sophomore point guard James Johnson averages 11.9 points and nearly four assists per game.

The Bobcats go eight deep, with just two seniors in the regular rotation. They led the Northeast Conference in scoring at 73.6 points per game. Though Quinnipiac's tallest regulars are 6-7, the Bobcats lead the nation in rebound margin at plus-9.2.

The Bobcats are rated No. 147 in CollegeRPI.com's Ratings Percentage Index. They lost to NCAA participants Lehigh (79-71) and Vermont (80-77) on the road, and they won at Robert Morris (87-79) in the regular season before losing to the Colonials 52-50 in the NEC title game.

Virginia Tech has never faced Quinnipiac. The Hokies (23-8) are the No. 1 seed in their eight-team grouping. The winner of Wednesday's 7 p.m. game at Cassell Coliseum plays the winner of the UConn-Northeastern game.

By the way, Quinnipiac is the name of a local Native-American tribe. Depending on the source, the word means either "people from the long-water land" or "turning point."