This is Amelia Rayno's third season on the Gophers men's basketball beat. She learned college basketball in North Carolina (Go Tar Heels!), where fanhood is not an option. In 2010, she joined the Star Tribune after graduating from Boston's Emerson College, which sadly had no exciting D-I college hoops to latch onto. Amelia has also worked on the sports desk at the Boston Globe and interned at the Detroit News.

  Follow Rayno on Twitter @AmeliaRayno

ESPN: Format for NIT Season Tip-off could be changing

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers coaches, Gophers players Updated: July 11, 2014 - 3:21 PM

The non-conference tournament Minnesota is slated to participate in next season could be in flux.

ESPN's Andy Katz reported on Friday that the NIT Season Tip-off, scheduled for November of this year, has aligned only eight teams instead of the expected 16.

If the tournament field does shrink by half, it would mean significant changes in the formatting, Katz reports. The four host teams -- Minnesota, St. John's, Gonzaga and Georgia -- would get only one home game instead of two, and the winner of each matchup would then play three games at Madison Square Garen rather than two.

According to Katz, Georgia basketball coach Mark Fox and Gonzaga basketball coach Mark Few are both waiting to see what will happen with the event, while St. John's coach Steve Lavin has reiterated that he is "all in."

Minnesota coach Richard Pitino did not immediately return a phone call for comment on the matter.

If the changes do occur, the Gophers would be stripped of one home game in return for another neutral-site matchup. The bigger concern would be if other host teams such as Gonzaga and Georgia back out, leaving Minnesota with either a significantly weakened tournament or in a last-minute scheduling crunch.

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