Why Alabama should decline an NIT bid

It’s time for Alabama basketball to stop being nice. If the Crimson Tide fails to make the NCAA tournament this year, it should decline a bid to the NIT.

“But Al, that’s not the proper thing to do. What will people think?”

Who cares what people think? Who cares what’s proper? We’ve got to get this vessel sailing in the right direction, and the NIT is like a deserted island with Thurston B. Howell III and Lovey.

Unbelievably, Joe Lunardi, aka “Joey Brackets,” still has us in the tournament, but I bet by the end of this you’ll see the NCAA “Powers that Be” turning their backs on the Tide. It’s like in Teen Wolf when Scott gets rejected by Pamela and has to settle for Boof, only Boof is better and way nicer than the NIT.

So let’s decline it, Avery. Here are five reasons why you should do so:

  1. It’s a waste of time.

Sure, a team could get hot in the NIT and cap off the season on a high note. But for what? To say they won the NIT? Penn State won the NIT last year. How has it helped their program? The Nittany Lions are 13-17 and 6-13 in the Big Ten.

Time is a basketball coach’s most precious commodity, so why spend it on a useless tournament?

  1. The NIT is a joke. Like, really, it’s a joke.

If the tournament you just got invited to is the place teams don’t want to go, why would you go? Fans chant “NIT” to make fun of teams that don’t make the big dance. Speaking of the NIT, Denver Post writer Irv Moss once wrote of a particular crowd: “The three-letter word… was far more cutting than any four-letter word they could have hollered.”

  1. Alabama fans are sick of the NIT.

Looks like it’s going to be another NIT spring for the Crimson Tide! Spring-breakin’-it in Wichita!

Alabama basketball has participated in the NIT in five out of the last 10 seasons. Let’s take a look at Bama’s illustrious record:

2010-11 Lost in NIT finals to Wichita State

2012-13 Lost in third round to Maryland

2014-15 Lost in second round to Miami (FL)

2015-16 Lost in first round to Creighton

2016-17 Lost in first round to Richmond

So, for final review, here’s a quick snapshot of Alabama’s postseason action over the last decade: five NIT bids, two NCAA tournament bids, three no bids.

I’d make the case that it’s better not to participate in the postseason than to get bounced in the first round by Richmond. But hey, that’s just me.

  1. It can hurt you.

Making a run in the NIT might help younger players develop some confidence and gain experience, but losing to a no-name school can hurt you just the same. This is a tournament for the up-and-comers: the Tulsas, the Daytons, the Bradleys, the Penn States of the world. And because it matters more to these teams, upset city is more of a possibility for more established programs like Bama.  

  1. It does not help Alabama’s basketball program.

What if you won the tournament? Do you hoist a NIT champs banner in Coleman Coliseum? I submit that few would care—especially the blue chippers you are trying to lure to Tuscaloosa. Participating in the NIT—heck, winning the NIT—would not help your basketball program. Wouldn’t move the needle forward a bit in my opinion.

I’d make the case that declining a bid would actually help more. It would demonstrate to recruits that this program is sick of mediocrity. It would be a statement that we aren’t going to settle for this.

It’s time for Alabama to get NIT-picky. To value quality over quantity. This time, it’s no more Mr. Nice Alabama basketball team.

It’s time to have higher standards, starting today. H&A



Al Blanton

Al Blanton

Born in Jasper, Alabama, Al is the owner and publisher of Blanton Media Group.
Al Blanton

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