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

iowa-hawkeyes

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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Northwestern basketball in the NIT? Maybe Not

northwestern-basketball-nit

For the last four years, the performance of Northwestern basketball has made the media toy with the idea of the Wildcats making the NCAA Tournament. There will be no media speculation this year. An unbelievable rash of injuries have made them a shell of a team they once were, but they can still make the NIT with some signature wins. Their only shot at a tourney bid would be a miracle run through the Big Ten Tournament, where they will likely be seeded 9th-11th out of 12 teams. Chances are made even more poor when considering they’ve never even made it past the quarterfinals in the tourney’s 14 year history.

And if you saw how they looked versus the Badgers or Illini, you wonder if there’s any offensive left in this team at all.

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Seton Hall star drops F-bomb in NIT excitement after NCAA bubble bursts

seton hall cheerleaders

Maybe Seton Hall shouldn’t have lost to Big East weaklings DePaul and Rutgers down the stretch. Maybe the Pirates should have done more in the Big East tournament. Maybe they just have beaten Northwestern back in the pre-conference. Just any of these…one win more would have likely kept their NCAA Tournament bubble floating instead of bursting.

But it’s too late now; and the Hall is headed to the NIT. But their leading scorer has accepted it, and now he’s ready to go out and win the consolation bracket.  (NSFW Text after the jump)

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Northwestern Goes for School Victory Record in NIT Quarterfinals

Michael juice Thompson

Maybe this season wasn’t such a disappointment in Evanston after all? They’re the only team from the Chicago area still alive, even if it is in the consolation bracket that is the NIT. Still, by Northwestern Wildcats standards this season became a rousing success with their blowout 85-67 win at #1 seed Boston College this past weekend. It gave them win number 20, tying the school record for wins in a season, set just last year.

As much as Coach Bill Carmody has been maligned this year (mostly for not closing out any of the games in which he had ranked Big Ten opponents on the ropes and failing to reach the NCAA Tournament when the pieces seemed in place to do so) he certainly must have felt an injection of vocational capital with the last two wins.

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Northwestern to Meet Milwaukee in NIT Game Tonight

shurna

Northwestern hosts its first National Invitation Tournament (NIT) game since 1994 Wednesday as the #4 seed Wildcats take on Milwaukee at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Tip is 7 p.m.

The winner of Wednesday’s contest advances to take on the winner of the game between #1 seeded Boston College and #8 seed McNeese State.

Milwaukee, the Horizon League regular season champ, fell to the Butler Bulldogs in the HL conference tourney, and were denied a NCAA Tournament bid. They are 19-13 overall, 13-5 in conference. The Panthers won nine of their last 10 regular-season game, had a double bye in the conference tourney,  then defeated Valparaiso in the semifinal before falling to Brad Stevens and company.

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People Actually do NIT, CBI and CIT Bracket Projections. Really!

ncaa tournament brackets

 

Everyone and their brother (and their sister, nephew, uncle cousin’s former roommate) is currently filling out their bracket right now. And the geekier subgroup of that large group is comprised of those who peruse plenty of college basketball bracket projections in the weeks and months leading up to yesterday. And a tiny subset of that group are those who made those “bracketologies.”

So that’s common and standard. But what about a NIT bracketology? For the “Not important tournament,” or “not invited tournament,” Yes people actually project those too!

Further down the pecking order are the CBI and CIT. Many, many schools refuse bids to these consolations brackets. (Some seasons just need to end- Iowa Hawkeyes are a good example).

And yes, I found a guy who does projections for these as well- believe it or not!

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NIT Quarterfinals, Illinois vs. Dayton LIVE!

By Paul Schmidt and Paul M. Banks

We’re live from the headquarters of The Sports Bank, at our top secret Chicago headquarters.

We’re live blogging the game.

We’re wearing orange and blue.

I think we might be pulling out the rooting clothes tonight, boys and girls!!  Tip off is in just a few minutes, so let’s get this stupid Rhode Island/Virginia Tech NIT Quarterfinal game over… [Read more…]

College Hoops 101

By: David K.

Welcome to a weekly article at thesportsbank.net where I will give you the 101 on what has happened in the week of college basketball and what is to come in the days ahead.  One week remaining in the season… what am I going to do with myself after next Monday?

Rewind
-First and foremost, I owe TSB.net’s Peter Christian an apology.  In our staff picks at the beginning of the season, Peter picked Villanova to make it to the Elite Eight, and I called him crazy.  Not only did ‘Nova exceed Peter’s expectations, but his boy Scottie Reynolds hit the game-winning shot with a half-second left in what will certainly be a NCAA Tournament highlight that we will all see over and over for the next fifty years.

In all actuality, the Pitt/Nova game probably never should have come down to the Reynolds’ game-winner.  I am not sure if Jay Wright or the inbounder (Reggie Redding) is to blame, but what a terrible decision made late in the game.  Why the Wildcats went for the home run inbounds pass while leading by two with 10.3 seconds left is baffling.  Throw it to your guard, have him get fouled, and go to the free throw line.  Instead, the Hail Mary is picked off; Pitt gets fouled and ties the game at the charity stripe.  I really like Wright and the call was gutsy, but back-fired worse than Happy Gilmore’s puck trick with the golf chick.

-If you watched the Michigan State Sweet 16 game, you probably saw about 613 cutaway shots of Tom Izzo’s wife, Lupe.  While Peter claims she looks like she belongs on an episode of The Sopranos, I cannot help but wonder if she even understands the game of basketball.  At the end of the game when things were very exciting, she sat there with a stoic look on her face as if she did not know what was going on.  Or maybe she has been injected with so much botox that she was trying to smile but was just unable to do so.  Good thing we will get to see 483 more shots of her during the Final Four.

-Big ups to Marquette’s Jerel McNeal who was named a second team All-American.  A well-deserved honor for McNeal and not one that I would have imagined at the beginning of the season.

-Seth Curry, the younger brother of Davidson’s Stephen Curry and nation’s leading scorer among freshman, has decided to transfer from Liberty to pursue opportunities to play against tougher competition.  Curry will likely end up at an ACC school, possibly Virginia Tech where his father played, but I still am going to send him pamphlets about how Marquette is such a fantastic college institution.  (UPDATE: Seth Curry has committed to Duke and will be eligible for the 2010-11 season.  And I just threw up in my mouth.)

-Ohio State freshman center B.J. Mullens has decided to turn pro.  DUMB.  Mullens was the Buckeyes’ sixth man and while he showed steady improvement throughout the season, he is nowhere near ready to contribute in the association.  He still has plenty of potential and is an athletic seven-footer which should still make him a late-lottery/mid first round pick.  If Mullens would have stayed in school, The Ohio State likely would have been a top ten team next season.  The only plus to Mullens’ decision is that he won’t end up on my or Peter’s most hated players in college basketball list next season because he looks like a real doofus and has an Adam Morrison-like porn stache going on.

Fast Forward
NIT Championship, Thursday (6:00)
The NIT Final Four features Baylor vs. San Diego State and Penn State vs. Notre Dame.  I’ll take San Diego State vs. Notre Dame in the title game with the Aztecs taking down the Irish to claim the irrelevant championship.

North Carolina vs. Villanova, Saturday
UNC was my and pretty much everybody else’s pre-season pick to roll all the way to the National Championship, but people cooled off when they actually lost a couple games during conference play.  As much as I enjoy watching Nova and would love to see a Big East team in the Finals, I just don’t think they can knock off the Heels with how dominant Carolina was against Gonzaga and Oklahoma.  UNC is just too big and strong inside with running out different bodies down low.  Nova’s guards will need to play out of their mind for the Cats to pull off the upset.
Prediction: UNC 89, Villanova 76

UConn vs. Michigan State, Saturday
I am not going to lie, as much as I dislike Michigan State, they might be the perfect team to take down a UConn sqaud that has saved its best ball for the tourney.  Sparty has the depth and size inside to compete with Hasheem Thabeet and Jeff Adrien and the quickness in their guard play to hang with A.J. Price and Kemba Walker.  The x-factor (pardon the cliche) will be the match-up between the Huskies’ Stanley Robinson and State’s Raymar Morgan.  Then again, if Thabeet gets into early foul trouble, the Spartans could run UConn right out of the arena just like they did to Louisville.  Oh, and Sparty is playing in their backyard in Detroit.
Prediction: Michigan State 73, UConn 65

Footlocker.com

The Drive to 225
My drive for watching 225 college basketball games this season has already been completed.  Like I predicted, the dream of reaching 300 was aiming a bit too high.  I’ll settle with around 275.

Games watched through 3/22: 270

Games watched this past week: 14
Davidson at St. Mary’s
Penn State at Florida
Kentucky at Notre Dame
UConn vs. Purdue
Memphis vs. Missouri
Pitt vs. Xavier
Villanova vs. Duke
Syracuse vs. Oklahoma
Louisville vs. Arizona
Kansas vs. Michigan State
UConn vs. Missouri
Villanova vs. Pitt
Louisville vs. Michigan State
North Carolina vs. Oklahoma

Wildcats Approach School Record for Wins.

By Paul M. Banks

f you saw the highlights of Northwestern’s shocking upset at #20 Purdue on the Big Ten Network last night, you might have seen the line reading “17 wins by Northwestern ties school record.” That’s incorrect. Their next victory, which could come Sunday at Ohio St., would be their 18th. That would tie the school record set by the 1982-83 squad led by Jim Stack. Yes, the Jim Stack.

His group beat Notre Dame in the NIT first round before losing to DePaul in the 2nd round. Lots of local representation in the 1983 National Invitational tournament. NU’s 1931 Big Ten championship team has the best record in school history (16-1), and if you vividly recall that- congratulations on living a long and healthy life!

Getting back to today, the Cats have won three in a row, partially thanks to Big Ten player of the week, sophomore point guard Michael “Juice” Thompson. “I feel myself and the rest of my teammates are playing their best basketball right now. People say it’s good to be playing your best basketball going into March and tournament time,” Thompson said.

Despite what some pundits are saying a win in Columbus will NOT equal the program’s first NCAA tournament berth. Not with an 81st ranked RPI, 61st strength of schedule and below .500 conference record. In order to avoid saying a Cublike “just wait till next year,” about March Madness, they’ll need to run the Big Ten Conference Tournament table in Indianapolis. If they had effectively closed the deal in at least two of the four games in which they blew double-digit second half leads…they’d likely have a ticket to the Big Dance.

However, the school which hosted the first NCAA tournament yet never played in one (with apologies to Alanis Morrissette, “Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?”) will obtain a postseason berth of some sort. Northwestern Wildcats does include the letters N-I-T. After last year’s horrid 8-22, 1-17 in conference debacle, any postseason berth is greatly appreciated in Evanston. “I may be their biggest fan. I love what Northwestern does and I’ve always had great respect for the way Bill’s {Carmody} teams execute to precision,” Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter said after his Hawkeyes lost to the Cats last Saturday.