Win NIT or Lose NCAA Tournament Opener?

It’s been hard to think of things to write about when it comes to the Nebraska Cornhuskers at this time of year (although someone tells me Spring Football is right around the corner baby!)

After all, it’s March Madness baby! A fantastic time of year for any sports fan, but not one that our Huskers compete in regularly. In fact, it has been since 1998 since they last participated.

But I did have a question pop into my head the other day, that serves as a good hypothetical for Nebraska fans.

Would you rather see your basketball team earn the last entry into the NCAA Tournament and get spanked in their opening round matchup OR see your team win the NIT Tournament?

On one hand, you’re in the NCAA Tournament, which is every team’s goal heading into every College Basketball season. Even if you’re not a real threat to win it all, you’re still playing with the big boys at the highest level, to which there is something to be said.

On the other hand, you’re playing in the NIT. It is the minor leagues, yes. You get mocked somewhat for winning it, let alone losing in it. However, you get your team valuable winning experience, which is rare in the calendar month of March. 67 of the 68 teams in the NCAA Tournament will end their season with a loss. As do 31 of the 32 teams in the NIT.

The hypothetical that I am architecting would conclude with your team on top of a 32 team tournament. They would make their way to Madison Square Garden (best basketball venue in the world)  for the NIT Final Four. They would win five games in a row against evenly matched competition. It might register on Charlie Sheen’s “winning” radar.

This kind of momentum could carry over into the next season, especially if you’re a sophomoric-type team.

If it sounds like I’m arguing heavier in favor of winning the NIT crown, it’s because I think most people’s automatic response to the question would be the NCAA Tournament. I’m simply playing Devil’s advocate with hopes of creating a good discussion.

Again, I want to reiterate that your not simply deciding between accepting an invitation to either tournament. I am offering up a known-result-debate about getting blown out as a 12 seed in the NCAA Tournament or winning the NIT Championship.

I would rather see my team win the NIT, but would love to hear from anybody else on the matter, even if it’s just what your answer to the question with no explanation.

Topics: Brackets, Charlie Sheen, College Basketball, Huskercorner, Huskers, Huskers Blog, Hypothetical, March Madness, Ncaa Tournament, Nebraska, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Nic Reese, NIT, NIT Tournament, Question, Win, Winning, Would You Rather

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  • Rob Ladd

    Gotta be the NCAA blowout. You can’t brag about winning the NIT. Like, way to go, you’re the best team that wasn’t good enough for the real tournament. Especially with the way the NIT is watered down now. Maybe if the NCAA’s were only 32 teams. But if you’re not among the top 68 teams, you don’t matter.

  • http://www.hisdirkness.blogspot.com Nic Reese

    But do you believe it could be more beneficial for your team to win the NIT, when you’re looking ahead to next season?

    Nic Reese
    HuskerCorner

    • Oliver

      No its not more beneficial. People want to go to the big dance. They don’t wanna win the NIT.

  • http://www.hisdirkness.blogspot.com Nic Reese

    Fair enough…..surely there’s a man out there who will stick up for the NIT right?

    Come on!

    Nic Reese
    HuskerCorner

  • Thomas Walls

    What’s the NIT, been living in NC to long.

    • http://www.hisdirkness.blogspot.com Nic Reese

      Bahaha….thats awesome. You should go support Wake Forest and NC State more often I guess…

      Nic Reese
      HuskerCorner

  • Josh Toomey

    At this point for Nebraska, a few wins in the NIT would be huge. The competition is stiff with Wichita State, Colorado, Alabama, Virginia Tech and St. Mary’s. The teams in the NCAA are not the 68 best. Just because you win your conference tourny doesn’t mean you automatically become one of the 68 best. It means you had a good run in your tournament. I bet if they took the best 68, the 1 seeds wouldn’t be 84-0. A team like va tech is capable of beating a duke or pitt, but put those guys against vcu or yale, its a slaughter. Nebraska needs momentum after a good season but poor ending.

    • http://www.hisdirkness.blogspot.com Nic Reese

      Been waiting to hear from you Josh! Do you believe that Nebrasketball is on the upswing right now? They seem to be trying to re-identify themselves as not only a football school with their move to the Big Ten upcoming.

      I agree that the NCAA tournament doesn’t field the 68 best teams, but I like what they stand for by including all the conference champs from smaller conferences. I wouldn’t change a thing about it.

      All that being said, who ya got in your NIT Brackets? Haaaa

      Nic Reese
      HuskerCorner

      • Josh Toomey

        Nic-
        I do think they are on the upswing. I also believe the big 10 will be a good fit for Nebraska. The teams are more alike. You don’t have a lot of up and down the floor teams like ku mu ect. I think we won’t have to deal with it as much, but all teams put an emphasis on defense so our O will have to improve. We just signed one good recruit in Rivers and we have two more that are verbals…not sure if they are signed officially yet and a transfer that seems to be promising.
        Our bigs will have to play tough , but I think Doc can do it. Has to make the dance next year or I think they should go with a new guy. That said, his team normally plays harder than any team. We had 1 point losses in 3 games and were close in others. Need a clutch player to hit jumpers at the end of games or an actual go to guy. This will be a key off season for the big red. It would be nice to upset w. St. considering they were a OlockO for ncaa two weeks ago.
        What do you say?

  • Jeffrey Ross

    I have to agree with you. I’ve never understood the excitement about getting wiped out in the first round of the NCAA. All that March madness stuff seems overcooked to me, anyway. And you know what– you are exactly right. If the competition is evenly matched, the games are good. I always enjoy watching the NIT– the announcers don’t seem as shrill or self-pretentious. But that’s just me. The NCAA tournament has become another sports cliché.

    By the way, why not open up the NCAA tournament to every Div I team in the country– get rid of the conference tournaments, the NCAA selection committee, the shirt and tie analysts at ESPN– and just let the boys play in a mega tourney. How many division I programs are there? [ I think over 340]. So if we are to determine a true champion, let every body “duke” it out. [Oops. Bad figure of speech. I’ve heard enough about Duke to last me a life time.]

    • http://www.hisdirkness.blogspot.com Nic Reese

      Oh I wouldn’t mess with the current format of the NCAA Tournament. I still consider it the greatest sports event of the year. Including every team would take away half the fun from filling out brackets, because most people wouldn’t fill out a bracket of that size (I, however, would still fill out 20). But thank you for being the first person to side with the poor lil’ NIT in this discussion.

      BTW…I’m really hoping this is Jeffrey Ross of Comedy Central’s roasting fame. I would love a good roastin’.

      Nic Reese
      HuskerCorner

      • Jeffrey Ross

        Sorry my friend– I’m only an English teacher who lives in Arizona– but graduated from Doane College– and UNL– back when we still watched black and white TV.

        PS– I just printed off the NIT schedule Looks like some great games.

        PPS. I really liked your article.

        • http://www.hisdirkness.blogspot.com Nic Reese

          Thank you my friend, your kind words are very appreciated. I plan on filling out an NIT bracket for tomorrow, so be sure to check it out! Thanks for your comments.

          Nic Reese
          HuskerCorner

  • John

    Looking forward to seeing Neb. in Wichita. Is it going to be in Koch or downtown? Playing Tulsa downtown in the new arena was good for WSU fans. Either way it will sell out. A tough second game for the winner assuming Vir. Tech doesn’t get upset.

    That NC commit… I could have sworn NC was in the NIT last year?

    I would add some automatics to the list of teams to colorado to gripe about e.g. Indiana State but so it goes. Do you think the snub teams going one-and-done validates the picks? What if VCU et al win a game or two? Th