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April 3, 2009

Penn State: The Improbable NIT winner

Penn State finished off Baylor last night 69-65 to take the NIT title. While some may mock the winner of this secondary tournament -- calling then No. 66 even though this title brings with it more prestige than dropping a first round NCAA game in an upset -- the NIT has been a stepping stone for many teams moving into the next season.

I wrote about this at Examiner, but here is a list of the teams that have turned recent NIT success into NCAA tournament glory the next season:

Ohio State turned last year’s championship into a No. 8 seed in this year’s NCAA tournament.

West Virginia, the 2007 champion, reached the Sweet Sixteen in 2008. The runner-up, Clemson, was No. 5 seed but ran into a hot Villanova team.

Two-time defending champ South Carolina started the 2007 season 10-3 before getting rolled by a hot SEC conference that ultimately produced NCAA champ Florida.

Ok, so Ohio State's tournament run didn't end with fireworks and parades, but they made the field. That should give Penn State a lot of hope going into next year, even with the loss of Jamelle Cornley.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Penn State's run to the title is how improbable the whole thing was.

Read the remainder of this story here.

This entry is tagged: college basketball, MRI, NIT, sports

Posted by bmiraski at April 3, 2009 3:16 PM