Michigan Basketball: IUPUI at Michigan — NIT Season Tip-Off — North Regional — Preview
A long time ago the National Invitational Tournament was a golden event. It was more thought of than the somewhat new NCAA tournament format. That changed in the 1950’s, but a few east coast coaches, such as the great Al McGuire, still saw the NIT as being more prestigious. He would be the last rebel forsaking an NCAA bid to instead go to the NIT. The NIT had a holiday tournament that was telecast in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. This was quite a treat for basketball fans as few games were telecast in that era. Jerry Lucas burst on the scene as a young player and made a big mark.
Money and the NCAA buried the NIT, but the vanquished evolved and the NIT now runs a successful preseason NIT as well as the “were number whatever” tournament in March.
Sixteen teams from different conferences make up the tournament. The four top seeds host a pod bracket. Michigan is one of the host teams, along with Virginia, Kansas State, and Pittsburgh. Each pod team will play two games at the host site and the four undefeated teams advance to New York City. The pod games at Michigan are on November 12 and November 13. The finals at Madison Square Garden are on November 21 and 23.
IUPUI (there are a bunch of IUPU’s) is first up for the Wolverines. If the Wolverines win the opening match they will face either Cleveland State or BGSU.
The game is at 9:00, according to media sources, and will be televised on ESPNU.
IUPUI is 1-0 with a 67-54 win over the Utah Valley Wolverines. The win was fueled by good defense. The Jaguars play in the Summit League and were 14-18 last year. The Jags play some known teams and can hang in with league and MAC level teams.
IUPUI returns key players including senior sharpshooter John Hart, Mitchell Patton, Donovan Gibbs, and Greg Rice. IUPUI has ten juniors and seniors on the roster and though not a big roster by any stretch, the starters have sufficient size to warrant concern. The majority of the players hail from basketball rich Kentucky and Indiana. Someone once said that what this country needs is a good five-cent cigar. In basketball, every team could use an Indiana point guard.The Jags demonstrate no great strength or great weakness. The shooting and rebounding are very typical and shortcomings are made up through good defense.
Michigan may just let the game evolve as in the last three efforts or work early to cause some foul troubles for IUPUI. If Michigan hits the threes and makes some hay in the transition game, it will be tough for IUPUI to hang in the game, tough but not impossible.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff
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