Did you know that the NCAA Tournament used to start after the NIT championship to avoid competition? That’s how prestigious and popular the NIT was in the 1940s and 50s. In fact, teams could actually compete in both tournaments.
A great piece of college basketball trivia is that in 1950 City College of New York (CCNY) became the only team to win the NIT and national championship in the same year. (Speaking of CCNY, that team was involved in a massive point shaving scandal. A 1998 documentary called “City Dump” also covers this topic.) Before the NCAA mandated that conference champions compete in the NCAA Tournament, legendary coach Al McGuire actually turned down a bid to the NCAA Tournament in favor of the NIT in 1970. He did so because he didn’t like Marquette’s region.
Enough of the history. Before the Final Four, we have an opportunity to bet on the NIT championship game between Utah and Penn State. We will first take a look at the profile of each team, while touching on the matchup on each end of the floor. We will then close out with a prediction for tonight’s outcome. Let’s get to it!
Utah vs. Penn State -4 | O/U: 134.5
7 p.m. ET on ESPN