BYU arrives in NYC for NIT semifinal showdown with Baylor
Greetings from the Big Apple, everyone.
While New York City is focused on MLB's Opening Day -- the Yankees and the Mets both have homes games today -- a sliver of this gigantic season has turned its attention to Madison Square Garden -- where the National Invitation Tournament will be played for the 76th time.
BYU is in the semifinals, of course, and will tackle Baylor on Tuesday at 5 p.m. MDT. Iowa and Maryland will follow.
Selected players from all four teams and the head coach of each team will appear at a news conference today at the midtown Marriott Marquis, and I will be there to bring you all the best details.
Until then, read about BYU's last two teams to win the NIT, the 1951 and 1966 teams, in this piece in today's Tribune.
Here are a few leftover comments from BYU players and coaches about those teams:
Tyler Haws on the 1966 NIT team that featured his father's high school coach, Jim Jimas:
"We have talked a little bit about it. We know this is a great opportunity, and we are looking to seize that opportunity and continue to just win as many games as we can. There are lots of good teams that we have played that are in this tournament, and hopefully we can get a few wins this week."
Haws on what Marty Haws has told him about Jim Jimas:
"Yeah, he was my dad's coach. I have heard he was a fiery guy. I have just heard a few stories about him, but my dad has a lot of respect for him. He's a good guy."
Nate Austin on being around Mel Hutchins and Roland Minson of the 1951 team earlier this season:
"I think, just like them, our team wants to win. Our team is playing for each other. When their jerseys were retired, both of them were together because they didn't want to have their jersey retired without the other. We are like that. We are playing for each other. We are trying to make plays for the team, and not just for ourselves personally."
Nate Austin on returning to NYC after losing twice here at the beginning of the season at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn:
"We have some unfinished business back there. We went out there with high hopes, and we came home with two losses. I think the first game against Florida State was a game that the other team shot lights out against us. Notre Dame was a game we easily could have won. I think coming home from that, we were all disappointed. So the chance to go back there and play some more games, it is going to be exciting for the team. It is all about business and it is all about going back there to win two games."
Coach Dave Rose on the 1966 BYU NIT team:
"I know Neil [Roberts]. I played for Neil at Dixie. And at one time, I think a couple of the guys came through Saint George, and Neil introduced us to them at practice. But I have kind of run into members of that team at football games and other events in the 16 years that I have been here. Probably the only guy I have a relationship with is Neil."
Rose on talking about history of BYU basketball with his team:
"We did talk about the 1903 team today. I think that is something these guys would really like to .. It is just nce when you have little things to shoot for. April 2nd is the latest BYU has ever played in a calendar year in a basketball game. It happened in 2013 and it happened in 1903.
I encouraged the guys today to score a couple more points than maybe that team did. It was 16-10. That's when they were jumping after every made basket. So ....they would have jumped about 14 teams."
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