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N.I.T. (National Invitational Tournament) Notes

March 27, 2018

As stated yesterday, Villanova and Michigan won Conference tournaments at Madison Square Garden, and are now each 5 point favorites, in national semi-final games, to be played this Saturday.

Tonight post-season basketball returns to Madison Square Garden as the N.I. T. (National Invitational Tournament) has its two semi-final games at the famed venue.

In the opener Western Kentucky opposes Utah. After that game concludes, Penn State faces Mississippi State.

Certainly with Loyola of Chicago making an unlikely run to the national semis, thoughts on the famed, Loyola/”Chi” 1963 title team surface.

Relating to the N.I.T. there is juxtaposition with Mississippi State as in ’63, the Babe McCarthy coached Mississippi State team defied a state order prohibiting games vs integrated teams, and faced  Loyola of Chicago, such a team, in the N.C.A.A. Tournament regional semis.

Along those lines, there is juxtaposition with ’18 N.I.T. participant Utah, which lost in the national semis, to the eventual champion, Texas Western team in 1966. That Texas Western team had an all black starting five.

On “lighter” notes, (pun intended), as stated yesterday Western Kentucky faced Villanova, a 2018 NCAA Tournament “semi” team in a classic ’71 national semi, won by Villanova.

U.C.L.A. in one of two title seasons in between Lew Alcindor (later and now Kareem Abdul Jabbar) and Bill Walton, took Villanova to win the fifth of seven straight titles.

A “stretch” regarding the remaining N.I.T. “semis” team, Penn State: In 1966, the year of the aforementioned Texas Western/Utah national semi, a football coach named Joe Paterno, began a 46 season career as “Nittany Lions” head coach.

 

I  admired Babe McCarthy as a fine coach in the A.B.A. and much more so after learning of his part in having Mississippi State take part in that tournament game vs Loyola of Chicago.

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