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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

What’s the NIT? Explaining the bracket, historical past of NCAA’s oldest postseason match

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It won’t have fairly the grandeur of the NCAA Event, however the NIT in 2021 represents a chance for a choose few groups to play within the postseason — school basketball groups’ first such alternative in two years.

March Insanity could be the pinnacle of the game, nevertheless it wasn’t at all times that means. At one level, the NIT (Nationwide Invitational Event) was thought-about the premier postseason match, even when it wasn’t thought-about the official nationwide champion-producing competitors. Certainly, profitable the NIT for a few years was thought-about on par with — or higher than — profitable the NCAA Event.

Occasions have modified, however that will not have an effect on the historical past of the NIT, nor its place within the recreation of faculty basketball. Even when fashionable groups would like to play in its postseason counterpart.

This is the whole lot it’s worthwhile to know in regards to the NIT: what groups are invited, match format, historical past and modifications in 2021:

What’s the NIT?

The NIT in its present type is a postseason match consisting of groups that didn’t make the NCAA Event but nonetheless had good-enough seasons to warrant invites to take part within the postseason. The NCAA took over its operation in 2005 from the Metropolitan Intercollegiate Basketball Affiliation (MIBA), the match’s unique founders and operators.

At one level, nonetheless, the NIT was thought-about the preeminent postseason basketball competitors. The MIBA based it in 1938, one yr earlier than the NCAA Event. It was typically thought-about the higher of the 2 tournaments, for 2 causes:

  • The match occurred fully in New York’s Madison Sq. Backyard, a extra inviting media hub the NCAA Event lacked.
  • The NCAA choice committee initially invited just one staff from eight nationwide areas, leaving the NIT with a extra assorted and infrequently stronger group of groups.

The situation and competitors resulted in lots of contemplating the NIT the preferable postseason match. That popularity held not less than by way of the mid-Fifties. From Invoice Bradley’s e book, “A Sense of The place You Are: Invoice Bradley at Princeton”:

“Within the Forties, when the NCAA Event was lower than 10 years outdated, the Nationwide Invitation Event, a saturnalia held in New York at Madison Sq. Backyard by the Metropolitan Intercollegiate Basketball Affiliation, was essentially the most glamorous of the postseason tournaments and customarily had the higher groups. The winner of the Nationwide Invitation Event was thought to be extra of a nationwide champion than the precise, titular, nationwide champion, or winner of the NCAA Event.”

Moreover, groups might settle for bids to each the NIT and NCAA Event. The Metropolis School of New York, for instance, gained each in 1950; Utah in 1944 misplaced its first NIT recreation however went on to win the NCAA Event. The champions of each tournaments performed one another throughout World Warfare II from 1943-45 in what was thought-about a charity recreation (the NCAA champion gained every time).

The NIT started to say no within the Seventies — partly as a result of TV networks started offering higher primetime entry to the NCAA Event, and in addition as a result of the NCAA in 1975 eliminated its rule permitting just one staff per convention to take part within the match. That pressured the NIT to relinquish its maintain on sturdy groups.

A big issue within the 1975 rule change was the 1973-74 Maryland basketball staff. The Terrapins, who completed the staff ranked No. 4 nationally, have been stored from the NCAA Event after dropping the ACC Event ultimate towards N.C. State. That prompted the NCAA to develop its postseason match to 32 groups, permitting a couple of bid per convention.

That very same Maryland staff grew to become the primary ever to say no a bid to the Nationwide Invitational Event.

NIT bracket format

The NIT bracket usually contains 32 groups and 5 rounds. The primary two rounds in addition to the quarterfinals are hosted on the campus of the higher-seeded staff; the semifinals and championship recreation are held at Madison Sq. Backyard in New York.

Spherical Location
Rounds 1-2, quarterfinals Campus video games
Semifinals, championship Madison Sq. Backyard (New York)

The NCAA on March 1 introduced the NIT in 2021 could be diminished from its typical discipline of 32 groups to simply 16 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the NIT will not function campus video games or its conventional end in Madison Sq. Backyard; the whole lot of this yr’s match will happen within the Dallas-Fort Price metroplex. The Comerica Heart (Frisco, Texas) and UNT Coliseum (Denton, Texas) will host video games, although particular venues for every spherical are being finalized.

One other potential change is the NIT’s choice course of. The NCAA on Feb. 26 launched protocols to switch NCAA Event groups that may’t play due to points with the coronavirus. The state of affairs would solely happen after the preliminary 68-team has been set, however earlier than the beginning of play: If a staff is unable to play, the NCAA would choose the primary 4 groups out — ranked first by way of fourth — and invite them to take part in March Insanity as an at-large. In any other case, they are going to be a 1-seed within the NIT.

Lastly, the 2021 NIT Event will function a third-place recreation, to be performed the identical day because the championship. It’s the first time the NIT has held a third-place recreation since 2003.

NIT choice course of

The NIT would not have a variety course of per se, although it does provide computerized bids to any staff that wins its convention’s regular-season title however fails to make the NCAA Event (a rule change applied in 2017). Each different staff is chosen as an at-large bid. All alternatives are made after the NCAA Event Choice Present.

NIT winners

Fifty-three groups have gained the NIT, with St. John’s main all with 5 titles, not together with the Redstorm’s vacated 2003 championship. Bradley has the second-most titles in NIT historical past, with 4. Dayton and Stanford have three titles apiece, adopted by 13 groups which have two titles (amongst that group are Michigan and Minnesota, which might have had three titles if not for vacated championships). Thirty-six groups have gained the NIT as soon as.

Texas in 2019 was the final staff to win the NIT; there was no match in 2020 after it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

College Champions Most up-to-date Runner-up finishes
St. John’s 6* 1989 3
Bradley 4 1982 2
Dayton 3 2010 5
Michigan 3** 2004 1
Minnesota 3*** 2014 2
Stanford 3 2015 0
BYU 2 1966 0
Kentucky 2 1976 1
Lengthy Island 2 1941 0
Ohio State 2 2008 1
Penn State 2 2018 1
Windfall 2 1963 2
South Carolina 2 2006 1
Temple 2 1969 0
Texas 2 2019 0
Tulsa 2 2001 0
Virginia 2 1992 0
Virginia Tech 2 1995 0
West Virginia 2 2007 0
Baylor 1 2013 1
Cal 1 1999 0
CCNY 1 1950 0
Colorado 1 1940 1
UConn 1 1988 0
DePaul 1 1945 2
Duquesne 1 1955 2
Fresno State 1 1983 0
George Washington 1 2016 0
Holy Cross 1 1954 0
Indiana 1 1979 1
La Salle 1 1952 1
Louisville 1 1956 0
Marquette 1 1970 2
Maryland 1 1972 0
Memphis 1 2002 1
Nebraska 1 1996 0
North Carolina 1 1971 1
Princeton 1 1975 0
Purdue 1 1974 2
Saint Louis 1 1948 3
San Francisco 1 1949 0
Seton Corridor 1 1953 0
Southern Illinois 1 1967 0
Southern Miss 1 1987 0
St. Bonaventure 1 1977 0
TCU 1 2017 0
UCLA 1 1985 0
Utah 1 2018 2
Vanderbilt 1 1990 1
Villanova 1 1994 1
Wake Forest 1 2000 0
Wichita State 1 2011 0
Xavier 1 1958 0

*Consists of St. John’s 2003 vacated title
**Consists of Michigan’s 1997 vacated title
***Consists of Minnesota’s 1998 vacated title

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