abc
QUICK LINKS:

NIT Final a Positive Sign for Gophers

Updated: 04/03/2014 6:49 PM
Created: 04/03/2014 4:30 PM KSTP.com
By: KSTP Sports

Some like to brush off the NIT as a chance to finish the college basketball season as the 69th-best team in the country, but making the NIT final historically forecasts bigger and better things ahead.

Minnesota will face Southern Methodist University Thursday night at Madison Square Garden for the NIT championship. The Gophers made it to the finals two years ago, but were blown out by Stanford.

The experience helped propel Minnesota to the NCAA Tournament the next season, though, and it helped secure a second-round victory over UCLA, the school's first NCAA tournament win since 1990.

That was under coach Tubby Smith. Now it's Richard Pitino's turn.

Plus, outside of pride, there's another good reason to win tonight's game: three of the last four NIT champions have gone on to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament the following year. Stanford did it two years ago after beating Minnesota.


Minneapolis/St. Paul

Overcast
36°
38° | 18°
  • Feels like: 28° F
  • Wind: NNW 13mph
  • Humidity: 46%
  • Fri Sunny
    37° | 24°
  • Sat Mainly sunny
    46° | 32°
  • Sun Windy with a few clouds
    50° | 35°
  • Mon Mainly sunny
    56° | 39°

Video

KSTP NEWS