What is the NIT? Explaining the bracket, history of NCAA’s oldest postseason tournament

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

March Madness could also be the pinnacle of the sport, however it wasn’t at all times that manner. At one level, the NIT (National Invitational Tournament) was thought-about the premier postseason tournament, even when it wasn’t thought-about the official nationwide champion-producing competitors. Indeed, profitable the NIT for a few years was thought-about on par with — or higher than — profitable the NCAA Tournament.

Times have modified, however that will not have an effect on the history of the NIT, nor its place in the recreation of faculty basketball. Even if trendy groups would like to play in its postseason counterpart.

Here’s the whole lot it’s good to find out about the NIT: what groups are invited, tournament format, history and adjustments in 2021:

What is the NIT?

The NIT in its present type is a postseason tournament consisting of groups that didn’t make the NCAA Tournament but nonetheless had good-enough seasons to warrant invites to take part in the postseason. The NCAA took over its operation in 2005 from the Metropolitan Intercollegiate Basketball Association (MIBA), the tournament’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 Tournament. It was typically thought-about the higher of the two tournaments, for 2 causes:

  • The tournament passed off solely in New York’s Madison Square Garden, a extra inviting media hub the NCAA Tournament lacked.
  • The NCAA choice committee initially invited just one group from eight nationwide areas, leaving the NIT with a extra different and sometimes stronger group of groups.

The location and competitors resulted in lots of contemplating the NIT the preferable postseason tournament. That fame held at the very least by means of the mid-Nineteen Fifties. From Bill Bradley’s guide, “A Sense of Where You Are: Bill Bradley at Princeton”:

“In the 1940s, when the NCAA Tournament was less than 10 years old, the National Invitation Tournament, a saturnalia held in New York at Madison Square Garden by the Metropolitan Intercollegiate Basketball Association, was the most glamorous of the postseason tournaments and generally had the better teams. The winner of the National Invitation Tournament was regarded as more of a national champion than the actual, titular, national champion, or winner of the NCAA Tournament.”

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

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

A major think about the 1975 rule change was the 1973-74 Maryland basketball group. The Terrapins, who completed the group ranked No. 4 nationally, had been stored from the NCAA Tournament after shedding the ACC Tournament closing in opposition to N.C. State. That prompted the NCAA to increase its postseason tournament to 32 groups, permitting multiple bid per convention.

That identical Maryland group grew to become the first ever to say no a bid to the National Invitational Tournament.

NIT bracket format

The NIT bracket sometimes consists of 32 groups and 5 rounds. The first two rounds in addition to the quarterfinals are hosted on the campus of the higher-seeded group; the semifinals and championship recreation are held at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Round Location
Rounds 1-2, quarterfinals Campus video games
Semifinals, championship Madison Square Garden (New York)

The NCAA on March 1 announced the NIT in 2021 could be lowered from its regular subject of 32 groups to only 16 as a result of of the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, the NIT will not characteristic campus video games or its conventional end in Madison Square Garden; the entirety of this yr’s tournament will happen in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. The Comerica Center (Frisco, Texas) and UNT Coliseum (Denton, Texas) will host video games, although particular venues for every spherical are being finalized.

Another potential change is the NIT’s choice course of. The NCAA on Feb. 26 launched protocols to replace NCAA Tournament teams that may’t play as a result of of points with the coronavirus. The situation would solely happen after the preliminary 68-team has been set, however earlier than the begin of play: If a group is unable to play, the NCAA would choose the first 4 groups out — ranked first by means of fourth — and invite them to take part in March Madness as an at-large. Otherwise, they are going to be a 1-seed in the NIT.

Finally, the 2021 NIT Tournament will characteristic a third-place recreation, to be performed the identical day as the championship. It is the first time the NIT has held a third-place recreation since 2003.

NIT choice course of

The NIT does not have a variety course of per se, although it does supply computerized bids to any group that wins its convention’s regular-season title however fails to make the NCAA Tournament (a rule change applied in 2017). Every different group is chosen as an at-large bid. All picks are made after the NCAA Tournament Selection Show.

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 history, 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 group to win the NIT; there was no tournament in 2020 after it was canceled as a result of of the COVID-19 pandemic.

School Champions Most latest 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
Long Island 2 1941 0
Ohio State 2 2008 1
Penn State 2 2018 1
Providence 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 Hall 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

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

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