Thursday, March 29, 2012

Postseason NIT: Honor or Dishonor?

John Marine | 3/29/2012 10:15:00 PM | | |
The postseason NIT (National Invitation Tournament) is a "best of the rest" college basketball tournament where those not good enough to play for a National Championship can still play for national pride. This postseason tournament is seen more like a consolation prize for NCAA tournament-bound teams that fail to make the NCAA tournament. Selecting a field of teams is tough unless you win your conference championship. Even then, you will still be among the odd teams that could still get in as an at-large. Some teams put forth a valiant effort all season long, but don't do enough of a good job to impress the NCAA tournament selection committee. So as a result, they are relegated to the NIT and will have to settle for next season to try to make the NCAA Tournament.

Recent talks a few years ago of expanding the current field of teams to a larger number have meant that the NIT may be done away with. The current alignment for the NCAA tournament on the Division 1 level is a 68-team field for the men and a 64-team field for the women. If you were to tack on the 32-team field that make up the NIT, you would be looking at a 96-team field (as well as a seeding and scheduling nightmare)!

The postseason National Invitation Tournament is seen as a slap in the face for snubbed NCAA tourney teams. However, it is severely underappreciated. So where do YOU stand? Do you think the Postseason NIT is an honor or a dishonor for all the teams involved?

--- Postseason NIT: Honor or Dishonor? My Stand ---

I only think the NIT is a dishonor if you feel you've been wrongly snubbed by the NCAA tournament committee. Every year, the NCAA tournament committee picks some teams that seem overrated or have no place in the field to sports reporters and sports fans. Look at what the NIT provides. For one thing- you can still play basketball, and you still have something to play for. Success in the NIT can help you to recruit better and maybe get some new players who can take a school to the NCAA Tournament.

I also think it is a dishonor if you feel this tournament is a way of saying you are just not good enough. There are two ways to look at it. You may be a team that had loads of promise but had a lackluster season. Conversely, you may be a team that had next to no promise of tournament aspirations until you came alive and started going on a tear through the season. It is tough to make either the NCAA tournament or the NIT tournament. There are more than 330-something tournament eligible schools in NCAA Division 1 basketball (Independent schools are disqualified from tournament entry). A team has to be among the best less than one-thirds of the 330-something eligible schools in NCAA Division 1. TALL order if you ask me.

My inclination is to say that the NIT should be an HONOR and not a dishonor. I equate the NIT in NCAA Division 1 basketball to competing in any non-BCS Bowl game in NCAA FBS Football. I would rather watch the NCAA Tournament more than I would the NIT tournament. However, teams who play in the NIT are not bad teams just because they weren't selected to play in the main tournament. It just means they were the select number of teams that stood out among others despite not making the NCAA tournament field. Look at it this way- you're still playing meaningful basketball while every other school is done and are preparing for next season. And as far as the NIT is concerned, who DOESN'T love the opportunity to play at Madison Square Garden in New York City with something big to play for? Every team in the NIT is playing for that chance to play for the championship. And just because you win the NIT, does it mean that you're not good enough to win the NCAA tourney, so you have to settle for the NIT? No. It just means that you shown that you are one of the best teams in America even if you don't make the NCAA tournament or didn't make the NCAA tournament.

So I see the NIT as an honor rather than any sort of dishonor. It is really a tournament that just isn't as appreciated among others since it isn't for the NCAA Division 1 National Championship. There is still a good deal of pride involved nationally to extend a basketball season and win something like the postseason NIT.

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Qhule Que said...

Hey John, thank you so much for stopping by and for the lovely comments. I enjoy reading your blog too, great work and impeccable research. 

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