McGrathDue to maybe the biggest pool of “name” teams to ever be omitted from the NCAA Tournament, the “Hey, we don’t completely suck tournament,” a.k.a. the National Invitational Tournament, has a field that actually looks formidable at first glance. Teams like Syracuse, Florida State, West Virginia, Air Force, NC State, Kansas State and Clemson join the field.But who is the deadliest of them all?Arkansas.By all accounts, the Razorbacks are an NIT team, having usurped the aforementioned teams in the Big Dance. Hence, they are the NIT team that has to be favored to win it all. Making it into the March Madness on the strength of a three-game winning streak at the end of the year, Arkansas has already defeated colors (the Orange), mythical creatures (Dragons), Native Americans (Seminoles), large groups of canines (The Wolfpack) and breathless demons (Blue Devils), and they haven’t even played a game in the tournament yet.That makes them the ’93 Bulls of the NIT, or the ’72 Dolphins. They are NIT juggernauts.Point (counterpoint) is that the NIT is a tournament for losers — a tourney for the bums that didn’t win enough to make the regular NCAA field.If the basketballs were household appliances, the NCAA Tournament would be a big screen plasma TV. The NIT? A toilet. One with a sticky handle at that.Hence, by being an NIT team in the NCAA Tournament, the Razorbacks are by far the powerhouse of the NIT, and regardless of who actually wins the NIT, Arkansas is the winner.Point: Arkansas.PoppyWhile everyone’s busy filling out their NCAA Tournament bracket, I’ve opted to go for the less popular NIT. Seeing as how I don’t know much about most of the tournament’s field, I should probably do some research. Then again, I’m pretty confident in who’s going to win this year.For the third consecutive season, the winner of the NIT will be… the South Carolina Gamecocks.Wait, they’re not in it this year? How lame.Who cares if South Carolina didn’t qualify with a 14-16, the NIT should give them an automatic bid. Just think about it, does anybody really care about the NIT? This tournament committee should be looking for any storylines whatsoever, and what better one than having a team go for a three-peat? Heck, throw Northwestern and Tim Doyle in there… at least he joined an elite Big Ten group including Isaiah Thomas and Magic Johnson to record 350 points, 150 assists, 100 rebounds and 50 steals in a single season. (This is so ridiculous, I’m can’t even make it up.)Sure, the NIT crown may not be a highly coveted one, but it still means something. As Michigan’s Brent Petway raps in his infamous song “No.1,” “NIT 2004, other teams pursuing that.”So I demand the NIT include South Carolina immediately — replay the first round if need be. If not, then I recommend the committee do something — anything — to get higher ratings.While automatically including the Gamecocks to go for an unprecedented repeat would be a good idea, there are several others. How about starting the NIT before the NCAA Tournament, and the winner gets an automatic bid to the Big Dance? Never mind the fact a team would have to win 11 straight games to claim the national title.But if South Carolina is somehow back in the NIT, I also demand Knicks rookie and 2006 NIT MVP Renaldo Balkman is granted an extra year of eligibility.
Don’t place blame on Torre
Seniors fill role, not boxscore