Yes, it’s time for everyone’s favorite event – the NIT final, the culmination of the chase to be #66. And does it really surprise anyone that the last 2 standing are the living, breathing embodiments of basketball mediocrity? Yes, I’m talking about Tommy Amaker of Michigan and Dave Odom of South Carolina!
Unless I’m mistaken, neither man has won an NCAAT game in his current coaching job (and this streak goes back to Odom’s last 4-5 years at Wake). Very rarely do their teams make the “Big Dance”, but when they do, it’s one and done. But Odom in particular is the master of the NIT, having already won it at both Wake and South Carolina. If there was an NIT Hall of Fame, he’d be in it. Maybe he can have a small display in the main college basketball Hall of Fame men’s room.
As you likely have noticed by now, the last teams left out of the dance rarely go far in the NIT. Because it’s not a tournament in the true sense – it’s a battle of attrition. Who doesn’t want to win the least? Under this scenario, it’s rarely teams or programs with bigger dreams. It’s the program that closed its season on a huge losing streak (like Michigan), or one that barely stayed above .500 entering its conference tourney (like SC).
As much as I hate NC State being stuck in “B-minus limbo,” I certainly wouldn’t rather be a “solid C” possibly looking to hang an NIT championship banner. And no, this post is not to excuse Sendek’s performance or caution against making a change because it “could always be worse.” It’s just to make fun of the NIT, which never gets old (at least to me).
I wonder if Stan, the NIT Goodwill Ambassador will drop by SFN?