Five tidbits as I look ahead to the very last home game of the year (for sure this time).
Minnesota - Southern Miss. tips off at 8 p.m. CT at Williams Arena and will be broadcast on ESPN and 1500-a.m. Tickets.
1. Two years ago, DeAndre Mathieu sat down in coach Donnie Tyndall's office and asked for a scholarship. Tyndall said no. He had his reasons. But now, after moving from Morehead State to Southern Miss, he's got to face his former walk-on in tonight's third round of the NIT -- the decider of who will advance to New York, and the semifinals. And Mathieu has gotten so much better than Tyndall ever could have imagined.
2. Last weekend, I was in Milwaukee for the second and third rounds at that site. In case you missed my coverage, here are some of the things I wrote:
Michigan's Jordan Morgan is peaking at the right time: here.
This is not your Wisconsin of old: here.
Playing at home, stoicism takes Oregon's Cook far: here.
John Beilein and Bo Ryan: Two coaches, one goal: here.
Nebraska hoped to keep the surprises going: here.
Michigan one of the nation's best surprises all year, and still surprising: here.
3. Keep up with where the Gophers are: the updated NIT bracket. If Minnesota wins tonight, it will face the winner of FSU (1) -Louisiana Tech (3) at Madison Square Garden in the semifinals.
4. After a wild opening weekend, the Sweet Sixteen is just around the corner. CBS' Jeff Borzello re-ranks the remaining teams here.
"In 1993 Minnesota won the NIT setting the tone for run of 4 years that included 3 NCAA trips (should have been 4) ending in Final Four." -- @RyanJamesMN
"Last home game tomorrow night vs. a very good Southern Miss team. Hope we see everyone there!" -- @MNCoachPitino