Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

NIT is Madness

March 27, 2003 Columns No Comments

The NIT: A Different Kind of Madness

by Adam Shandler

Renewed rivalries. Close contests. Clutch coaching. Final-second heroics.

Ah, the NIT.

How’re you doing in your NIT pool? What? You don’t have one? You say you haven’t been following? Well, what have you been doing to push off the withdrawal shakes between last Sunday and Thursday?

Much like its younger, more-publicized brother (yes, the NIT has been around a lot longer), this year’s ConAgra NIT has had its share of classic moments, superb performances and fantastic finishes.

What, you don’t believe me? It’s true! With all the NIT has had to offer this year, it should no longer be dubbed “the Not Important Tournament.” Hey, stop laughing. I’m serious! Okay, keep laughing, but I submit the following evidence to change your mind:

Iowa Skirts By Valpo: What a way to open up a tournament. Iowa, which won only four of its last 14 games, got a a game-winning jumper with 11 seconds left from senior Chauncey Leslie. The bucket not only propelled the then 15-13 Hawkeyes into the 1st round, it also ended an Iowa drought of over five minutes without a basket. Leslie gets a Great Performance nod for his decisive deuce, 15 points and senior leadership. Senior leadership…now there’s a term you don’t hear much about in college hoops.

Rhode Island Comes Back Against the Hall: When Seton Hall’s bubble burst on Selection Sunday the Pirates vowed to use the NIT to prove the committee wrong. Well, for about 14 minutes they did, until their 17-point lead evaporated and Rhody stormed back for a 61-60 victory. Dawan Robinson hit for 15 of his 17 points in the second half — including the game-winning three-pointer with just 4 seconds left.

Kann Cans FTs To Upend UIC: Five seconds left. Game tied. Your heart is pounding. You’re at the foul line. If you match this description, chances are you’re Western Michigan’s Anthony Kann, who hit 1-of-2 free throws in the waning moments to give his Broncos a 63-62 opening-round W over Illinois-Chicago.

This was the Broncos first NIT victory in its basketball history.

How ‘Bout Them Owls: It’s just not the postseason without seeing a hoarse and disheveled Jon Chaney occupying the bench. Temple has rolled through this tournament with a lot of poise. First, the Owls disarmed fellow Phil-towner Drexel in the opening round. Then, David Hawkins goes off for 36 points and Temple wastes tournament favorite Boston College, 75-62. Rhode Island was the next victim, 61-53, and the Owls screeched into the quarterfinals against Minnesota, a game to be played on Thursday night. If Temple can knock off the Gophers, they’ll make it to the — ahem — Final Four.

Not bad for a team that came into the bracket just two games over .500.

Georgetown-Carolina Revisited: No, it wasn’t 1982. There was no Patrick Ewing, no Michael Jordan. But there was Rashad McCants and there was Mike Sweetney. Georgetown-Carolina, played on Wednesday night, still had that old spark. Drew Hall drained the Hoya-lifting three with 58 seconds left to give Georgetown a 73-70 lead. Craig Escherick’s team held on for the 79-74 win and a semi-final berth in this tournament.

The General Has Returned: Though he won’t be wearing his red sweater –‘scuse me, Indiana-red sweater — Bobby Knight will be back pacing the sidelines during the NIT semifinals. This marks his sixth NIT final four appearance in his 37-year coaching career.

Behind Knight, Texas Tech will be making its first appearance in any kind of postseason basketball final four.

In 1979, Knight led the Hoosiers to an NIT title with a 53-52 win over in-state and Big Ten rival Purdue.

Convinced yet? Or do I have to come back during next week’s semifinals?


Comment on this Article:

Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – December 8, 2017

December 8, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about a bizarre finish to an early-season tournament game, the Pac-12’s early struggles, Florida teams going in different directions and two northeast teams trending less relevant even as they excite fans at a famous arena.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – November 22, 2017

November 22, 2017 by

In our pre-Thanksgiving podcast, we look at a key injury that is likely to be devastating for his team and an under-the-radar 4-0 week, then move on to some early SEC impressions and a couple of teams that just continue to win.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – November 9, 2017

November 10, 2017 by

The season is almost here, and we take a look at some of what to expect this coming season. We have preseason polls, conference changes, a look at some conferences and some matchups to start the season.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – October 2, 2017

October 2, 2017 by

The FBI has zeroed in on college basketball in a big way, and what has happened may be the beginning of a massive hit to the sport. We discuss what we know thus far in our latest podcast.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – August 17, 2017

August 18, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we check in with some good news from a few teams overseas after a big scare, plus a big addition for a championship contender, a conference on the rise, and a great coach thinking about a return to the bench.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.