Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
BYU guard Craig Cusick (2) leads his teammates as they begin to celebrate their win over Southern Mississippi in the final seconds of their NIT college quarterfinal basketball game in Hattiesburg, Miss., Wednesday, March 27, 2013. BYU won 79-62. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Kragthorpe: BYU deserves credit for motivated NIT play
First Published Apr 01 2013 08:59 am • Last Updated Apr 04 2013 05:50 pm

In the old days of the 64-team NCAA Tournament, I once derided the NIT as a competition to determine the 65th-best basketball team.

That was unfair. Because of the number of automatic-qualifying conferences, the NCAA field thins out considerably after the top 50 or so teams. So I would say now that winning the NIT is comparable to winning an NCAA game in the round of 64.

Photos
Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Obviously, that standard makes it difficult to quantify what BYU has done to this point, advancing to Tuesday’s semifinals vs. Baylor at Madison Square Garden in New York City. But the Cougars deserve credit for their achievement — and so do Weber State’s men’s team and Utah’s women’s team, also playing into April.

Much like football bowl games, postseason basketball aside from the NCAA Tournament is about motivation as much as ability. That makes BYU’s run of beating Washington, Mercer and Southern Mississippi impressive. Before even learning their NIT draw, the Cougars had to practice for a week after being eliminated in the quarterfinals of the West Coast Conference tournament.

They’ve kept extending their season, playing their best basketball. The way they’re performing now almost becomes an indictment of their regular season in some ways, but it is also a tribute to their competitiveness.

Same with Weber State. The Wildcats have bounced back from the disappointment of another failure in the Big Sky Conference tournament with wins over Cal Poly, Air Force, Oral Roberts and Northern Iowa in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament, and now they’ll host East Carolina for the championship Tuesday.

Utah already has won four games in the Women’s NIT, just to reach the semifinals Wednesday at Kansas State. The Utes have beaten Long Beach State, San Diego, Pacific and Saint Mary’s, with three victories coming on the road.

Anthony Levrets might be doing the best coaching job in Utah’s entire athletic department in 2012-13. Maybe that judgment gives too much value to the WNIT, but it’s clear that like the BYU and WSU men, the Utah women have decided that if they’re going to play in this tournament, they might as well excel.

kkragthorpe@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribkurt


story continues below



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.