The Stanford Cardinal will take home the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) championship trophy after literally drilling Minnesota by 24 points in the title game, 75-51. Minnesota was, well, never in it, turning the ball over 22 times.
Stanford finished 7th in the Pacific 12 Conference race and Minnesota was tied for 9th in the Big Ten Conference during regular season, but both teams found a redeeming venue in the NIT showdown.
#6 Minnesota “upset” its way to the NIT final, upsetting #3 La Salle, #2 Miami-Florida, #4 Middle Tennessee and #1 Washington to get to the title game. Stanford was favored and won every one of its games against Cleveland State, Illinois State, Nevada and Massachusetts.
Stanford had an average victory margin of 15+ points in its 5 victories to claim the NIT title. The Cardinal really had only one close game, eliminating Illinois State by 4 in overtime in the Second Round.
Hats off to both Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins and Minnesota coach Tubby Smith for making the end of their respective seasons far better than their regular season showing. Stanford ended the year at 26-11 and Minnesota was 23-15.
The Washington Huskies, Pacific 12 Conference champions, became the last NIT #1 seed to fall in the semifinals, getting upset by #6 Minnesota from the Big Ten, 68-67, in overtime.
Minnesota won because the Golden Gophers did everything the Washington Huskies did not do or could not do, that is play defense for 60 minutes, hit shots to maintain momentum, and play as a team rather than trying to showcase individual talent. Plus the Huskies couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn when it counted.
Washington simply was not ready for the big time Madison Square Garden setting in the Big Apple. And they won’t be ready next year or the year after unless they get their crap together.
So none of the four #1 seeds—Washington, Tennessee, Seton Hall and Arizona—made it to the championship game, proving they were all overrated and none of them deserved to be in the NCAA March Madness Tournament.
Washington was the most disappointing since the Huskies won the Pac-12 title, but became the first team from 1 of the 6 major conferences to not be selected for the Big Dance after winning a conference championship.
Stanford, which chased Washington for the Pac-12 title, whipped Massachusetts, 74-64, to advance to the title game against Minnesota.
#1 seed Washington stayed alive in the Third Round by beating Pac-10 rival Oregon, 90-86, but two other higher seeds—Drexel and Middle Tennessee—were not so lucky.
#5 Massachusetts continued to impress by upsetting #3 Drexel, 72-70, and #6 Minnesota did the same by sliding by #4 Middle Tennessee, 78-72. #3 Stanford crushed #5 Nevada by 28 points, 84-56. Suffice to say that the Wolf Pack was in total disarray.
Two more National Invitational Tournament #1 seeds were eliminated in Second Round play.
#1 Tennessee was upset by in-state rival #4 Middle Tennessee, 71-64 (I would not have wanted to be on the Vols campus the day that happened), and #1 Seton Hall was sent packing by #5 Massachusetts, 77-67.
Not to be outdone by Middle Tennessee and Massachusetts, #6 seed Minnesota put a horse-whipping on Miami of Florida, 78-60.
Six of the 32 teams involved in the First Round of the 2010 National Invitational Tournament (NIT) were upset. They included:
#8 seed Bucknell from the Patriot League took down #1 Arizona, 65-54, causing people to ask: What’s going on at Arizona, and in the Pacific 12 in general?
#7 Illinois State from the Missouri Valley League sent #2 Mississippi packing, 96-93, in overtime, leaving people to wonder: The Pacific 12? How about the Southeastern Conference?
#7 Iowa spanked #2 Dayton from the Atlantic 10, 84-75.
#7 Northern Iowa of the Missouri Valley Conference upended #2 Saint Joseph’s of the Atlantic 10, 67-65.
#6 Minnesota upset #3 La Salle of the Atlantic 10, 70-61.
#5 Massachusetts of the Atlantic 10 outlasted #4 Mississippi State of the SEC, 101-96, in double overtime.
The First Round saw only two teams win by 20 or more—Drexel beat Central Florida by 25, and Oregon eliminated LSU by 20.
2012 NIT National Championship Game Winner:
Stanford drills Minnesota, 75-51, to Win the NIT Title
Here are the 2012 NIT Semifinal Results:
Stanford eliminated Massachusetts 74-64
Minnesota upset Washington 68-67 in Overtime
Here are the 2012 NIT Third Round Results:
Washington eliminated Oregon 90-86
Minnesota upset Middle Tennessee 78-72
Massachusetts upset Drexel 72-70
Stanford eliminated Nevada 84-56
Here are the 2012 NIT Second Round Results:
Friday, March 16, Saturday, March 17, Sunday, March 18 and Monday, March 19:
Washington eliminated Northwestern 76-55
Oregon eliminated Iowa 108-97
Middle Tennessee upset Tennessee 71-64
Minnesota upset Miami-Florida 78-60
Massachusetts upset Seton Hall 77-67
Drexel eliminated Northern Iowa 65-63
Nevada eliminated Bucknell 75-67
Stanford eliminated Illinois State 92-88 in Overtime
Here are the 2012 National Invitational Tournament (NIT) First Round Results:
Tuesday, March 13, and Wednesday, March 14:
Washington eliminated Texas-Arlington 82-72
Northwestern eliminated Akron 76-74
Oregon eliminated LSU 96-76
Iowa upset Dayton 84-75
Tennessee eliminated Savannah State 65-51
Middle Tennessee eliminated Marshall 86-78
Minnesota upset La Salle 70-61
Miami (Florida) eliminated Valparaiso 66-50
Seton Hall eliminated Stony Brook 63-61
Massachusetts upset Mississippi State 101-96 in Double Overtime
Drexel eliminated UCF (Central Florida) 81-56
Northern Iowa upset Saint Joseph’s 67-65
Bucknell upset Arizona 65-54
Nevada eliminated Oral Roberts 68-59
Stanford eliminated Cleveland State 76-65
Illinois State upset Mississippi 96-93 in Overtime