NIT tournament, Gophers' participation up in the air

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 22, 2014 - 9:26 PM

With games against power-conference teams and the allure of the New York City spotlight, the NIT Season Tip-Off is a sought-after event for college basketball teams.

The NIT, however, was only able to secure half as many teams — eight, instead of 16 — for this November’s tournament, leaving some programs involved in a state of uncertainty. Minnesota, named one of the tournament’s four host schools, could be one of them.

Gophers coach Richard Pitino has made it clear he wants his team to remain in the field. But on Monday, he wouldn’t unequivocally commit to the tournament with so much up in the air.

Asked whether there is any scenario in which Minnesota would bow out of the tournament, Pitino said: “I hope not. … We still want to play in it, we want to make it happen, and I think it’s moving in the right direction.”

With half as many teams, the guarantees each program receives could be changing. ESPN’s Andy Katz reported teams could lose one home game (two were scheduled), and potentially would play one more game at Madison Square Garden (three instead of two).

St. John’s coach Steve Lavin told Katz that the Red Storm would play in the tournament no matter what, but the three other host programs — Minnesota, Gonzaga and Georgia — have not made such a commitment.

If Minnesota were to bow out of the tournament, or if it were to otherwise fall apart, the Gophers would have some major late-summer scheduling to do. Depending on what matchups they would be able to schedule, losing the NIT could be something that comes back to bite them in the spring if they’re on the NCAA tournament bubble. The beauty of a tournament such as the NIT is it guarantees good competition and boosts each team’s strength of schedule, one measure considered at the end of the regular season in determining which teams make the NCAA field.

Pitino would not comment on whether the nonconference schedule was completed otherwise, saying only, “We will release that soon.”

Josh Adel, Gophers director of basketball operations, recently wrote on the Basketball Travelers website that the team is seeking another home game Nov. 20, which is around the same time of the NIT tournament.

Hands off tickets, Dad

When Pitino found out the location of the Gophers’ tropical season opener against his father, Rick Pitino, and his Louisville squad, he turned to an old player of his.

Timberwolves guard J.J. Barea, who attended Northeastern University in Boston while Pitino was an assistant there, hails from Puerto Rico.

“Where is this?” Pitino questioned.

“Whoa,” Barea responded. The game takes place on U.S. Air Station Borinquen, in a rural area on the other side of the island from San Juan, the capital and largest city of Puerto Rico. It will take place inside a hanger and be a small affair. Each Pitino gets about 55 to 60 tickets to distribute as they wish. The rest in attendance will be the troops.

The elder Pitino already attempted to snatch some of his son’s allotment.

“I said no,” Richard said. Still, he’s figuring some of his dad’s constituency will work in his favor.

“I’m sure about 10 of the tickets from my dad’s side will be my family — at least 20,” he said. “If they’re not rooting for me, there’s a major problem. So hopefully we can make it a bit of a home game.”


  • related content

  • Andre Hollins has a spring in his step at last

    Wednesday July 23, 2014

    Gophers guard Andre Hollins played much of last season on a severely sprained ankle. Now, his explosiveness has returned.

  • Gophers basketball coach Richard Pitino discussed the uncertainty surrounding the NIT Season Tip-Off on Tuesday.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


San Francisco - LP: J. Peavy 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: K. Herrera 7
San Diego 7:25 PM
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Houston 90 FINAL
Orlando 89
Brooklyn 86 FINAL
Boston 100
Washington 100 FINAL
New York 103
Cleveland 92 FINAL
Memphis 96
Minnesota 110 FINAL
Milwaukee 91
Atlanta 117 FINAL
San Antonio 107
Portland 86 FINAL
LA Lakers 94
Phoenix 105 FINAL
LA Clippers 108
Toronto 0 Postponed
Ottawa 0
Philadelphia 5 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
Washington 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Buffalo 1 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Chivas USA 0 FINAL
Real Salt Lake 2
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters


Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA




question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question