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College Hoops: Tom Crean makes the case for the NIT.

With NIL money influencing the decision of college players (both current and incoming recruits) every second of the day, to the transfer portal starting pretty much the second conference tournament teams get bounced, the landscape for college basketball is changing ever so fast, and the future of the sport is at peril.


There were plenty of "snubbed teams", that thankfully are planning on playing in the NIT. We get at least one more game of Devin Carter in FriarTown, and I am hyped to see it. But will these teams still play at a high level this week?


My stance on the NIT and CBI has pretty much digressed over the past few seasons. The lack of effort and care started to decrease, and it never really mattered anyway. I think these tournaments are still better than an expanded NCAAT, but they offer no true reward for the larger-scale programs, and nobody cares if a mid-major or lower wins the damn thing.


Tom Crean, however, provided great insight on teams declining.


“I would want to coach, I would want to develop my team, you’ve got bigger staffs than you’ve ever had, there’s plenty of time for the portal, there’s plenty of time to talk to recruits, there’s plenty of time to negotiate NIL deals. There’s not plenty of time to play, there’s not plenty of time to get your players on the floor and give them a chance to get better. There’s not plenty of time for guys to continue to play that may never get to play again. And that to me is ridiculous. It’s each coach’s choice, I get it. But you take away a chance to play the games and put your team on the floor … give your players and coaches a chance to keep coaching and playing … if a guy doesn’t want to play, go sit down.”


I agree with everything he said, but I think the NIT/CBI needs a revamp and a rebrand. Throw in a cash prize for the players, put it in cool locations, and make it a spectacle to watch. Don't let these tournaments turn into bowl games that mean zip. Keep this sport special, and make it mean something.



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