ATHENS — Georgia basketball will continue its version of March Madness in an NIT Final Four matchup late Tuesday night.

The Bulldogs (20-16) play Seton Hall (23-12) in a 9:30 p.m. tip (TV: ESPN2) in Historic Hinkle Fieldhouse with hopes of extending their season once more.

“We’re playing like an NCAA tournament team right now,” UGA coach Mike White said. “Unfortunately, you have to do that all year to get in the other tournament.”

The NIT is not the same animal as the widely popular NCAA Tournament, which draws in fringe fans and bracket pool entries by the millions.

But this consolation tournament can and has served as a springboard for coaches, players and programs before, and White is aiming for the same sort of effect for Georgia.

Especially now, in what amounts to a free-agent era where half dozen — or more — players transfer into and out of each program annually.

“In today’s landscape, it’s uncertain based on what happens this spring and on every roster in our league,” White said.

“I’m focused on what happens with these guys here … we have four fourth-year juniors who have options this spring, we have some freshmen, some third-year guys.”

White and the Georgia basketball program have already raised eyebrows with this march to the historic venue in Indianapolis, knocking off Xavier, Wake Forest and Ohio State.

“Extra credit might be building for the future,” White said. “I really would like to see this team continue to play well. They are playing their best basketball of the season.

“I’m proud of our guys development of the last month.”

Georgia showed signs of great potential throughout the season, winning 10 games in a row in one stretch, and holding 11-point leads in the second half over Final Four team Alabama and Elite Eight participant Tennessee.

“We just weren’t quite good enough on those nights to beat those teams,” White said, “but we have been lately.”

these Bulldogs, who White says have been the “best practice team” he’s ever had, have continued to improve.

“We’ve gotten incrementally better throughout the year,” White said, “through ups through downs, though some winning streaks and some losing streaks, but our guys have stayed together.”

This marks the third time Georgia has played in the NIT semifinals, the other two coming in 1982 and 1998.