NO ONE CARES, but Iowa Hawkeyes in NIT Final Four!

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As you are likely unaware, the Iowa Hawkeyes advanced to the NIT semifinals for the first time in school history with wins over Indiana State, Stony Brook and Virginia. The Iowa Hawkeyes will meet Maryland and their NBA lottery pick Alex Len in the semifinals on Tuesday, April 2 at approximately 8:30 p.m. (CDT).

The Iowa Hawkeyes have the prime time game, following BYU vs. Baylor. Now I’m told that for decades long before I was born, the NIT or “Not Invited Tournament” or “Not Important Tournament” was considered a much bigger deal than the NCAA Tournament. I’m also told that cameras were once not digital and people used to use something called a type..?? writer??

Anyways, things change and the Iowa Hawkeyes are winning college basketball games in March; even if it’s in the tournament no one is watching.

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Fran McCaffery has the program moving in the right direction. These kids get to play in Madison Square Garden, the world’s most famous arena and get a trip to Manhattan. There’s no place like New York City! So all these things are positives for the Iowa Hawkeyes program. It’s just a shame the NIT competes directly with the big dance, and there’s really no way around that. March madness will always overshadow the NIT and nothing can be done.

The Iowa Hawkeyes aren’t the only Big Ten team to have recent NIT success. Of course, I barely remember it and I had to look it up to confirm, as these NIT triumphs received so little media coverage. The Gophers were runner-up last year, Penn State won it 2009, Ohio State took the NIT in 2008 as did the Wolverines in 2004. Minnesota (later vacated) beat Penn St. in an all league NIT final in 1998. And Michigan (also later vacated- yes they do bother to vacate NIT victories after all, so I guess they’re worth something to somebody, since they’re worth vacating) won in 1997. Minnesota won it 1993.

So maybe the Iowa Hawkeyes can continue recent Big Ten dominance in this event?

Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an author and regular contributor to MSN, Fox Sports , Chicago Now, Walter Football.com and Yardbarker. Banks has appeared on Comcast SportsNet and the History Channel, as well as Clear Channel, ESPN and CBS radio all over the world. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@PaulMBanks)

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