NIT Champs

Posted: Friday, April 03, 2009 by Travis Cody in

Congratulations to Penn State, National Invitation Tournament Champions for 2009. The Nittany Lions defeated Baylor 69-63 last night in Madison Square Garden to take the title.

Best wishes to PSU senior Danny Morrissey, who dove after a loose ball late in the game and banged his face right into the floor. He split his lip and knocked himself woozy. That's giving yourself up for the team and the title.

And props to the kids from Baylor. In the horrifying year of 2003, one player murdered a teammate, the head coach admitted to recruiting violations, and a host of other issues came to light. The Baylor program was in complete disarray. But the school weathered the trouble and the basketball program has rebuilt itself back up to respectability.

So that's one post season championship in the books.

The NCAA Tournament resumes tomorrow with two games in the Final Four.

First up is #2 seed Michigan State vs #1 seed Connecticut. MSU must control tempo and take energy from what will surely be a home crowd in Detroit. UConn must play with poise and use it's size and quickness on the interior. I'm not going to pick the upset here, although I am tempted and would not be surprised if the Spartans win.

My pick is UConn.

The night cap pits #3 seed Villanova vs #1 seed North Carolina. UNC junior guard Ty Lawson has overcome a painful turf toe to lead the Tarheels. He'll be hard pressed to deal with the quickness of the Wildcats' perimeter players. UNC is deeper that 'Nova at every position, but this is a good match up between each team's starting 5 plus the first 2 off the bench.

My pick is Villanova in the upset.

Yup. I've picked an all Big East final. Although I won't be surprised by any combination of teams advancing to the championship game on Monday.

The women's Final Four tips off from St Louis on Sunday. I usually watch a lot of women's games, but with the new job I haven't been getting home early enough. I have seen a bit of the tournament and I've enjoyed what I've seen.

The first game is #3 seed Lousiville vs #1 seed Oklahoma. Now I do know about the Parris twins, Courtney and Ashley, daughters of former SF 49er lineman Bubba Parris. These seniors are talented and motivated, and Courtney earned some notoriety a couple of weeks ago by saying she'd give back her scholarship if the Sooners didn't win the championship. I don't know anything about Louisville.

Analysts suggest that this is going to be a close game. The expert pick appears to be Louisville. But I like those twins and the joy they bring to the floor when they play.

The second game is #2 seed Stanford vs #1 seed Connecticut. Yes, the Huskies have both the men's and women's programs riding high. Unbeaten UConn is favored to win the tournament. The Huskies are led by sophomore Maya Moore, who is possibly the best female player in the country. I don't know if Stanford can hang with UConn or not, but I do know that Cardinal junior Jayne Appel dropped 46 points in the regional final and Stanford has their own 20 game winning streak.

The no-brainer pick is UConn. But Stanford was the last team to beat the Huskies, a year ago during the Final Four. And I gotta root for the west coast gals.

May you have bright sunshine and glorious warmth on this first weekend in April. We're supposed to get rain.


  1. Jay says:

    It was lovely here this week.
    Next week it calls for snow.

  1. Anndi says:

    The ice in our pool is melting!
    We've stowed the snow boots (did I just "jinx" it? heh) and I'm planning the garden.

    This post wasn't about the nice weather? Really? *grin*

    I brought cake for Bee.

  1. We're supposed to have some nice weather this weekend. I am so ready to be outside!

  1. Cherie says:

    Enjoy watching the games, and congrats to Penn State. :)

  1. Linda says:

    No doubt this will make Jeni - a Nittany Lioness - very, very happy!

  1. Bond says:

    Should be two great games tomorrow.

    All big east final...who woulda thunk it!

    Should be nice this weekend - YEA

  1. I rather wish they'd won it in football

  1. coco says:

    What sport is this about, anyway? Hockey? (The Habs are pulling out of their slump, didja see that, Anndi? Isn't that GREAT?)

    Gonna be a beautiful weekend here, too -- it's +12C already today and the 40 cm we got earlier this week is melting like crazy. Supposed to get rain tomorrow which is gonna decimate our snow stocks ... and I suppose that will spell out the end of sugaring off, though, which is a shame. It was a good season this year though.

    And in conclusion, I have only this to say:

    GO HABS GO!!

  1. The Big Ten is the real deal. Go Buckeyes!!!

    Los Angeles Colocation

  1. Anndi says:

    LOL @ Coco... Go Habs Go YUP!

  1. Heh. Congrats to the Nittany Lions; small consolation for getting turned down for the Big Dance. I remember reading about the Baylor woes. Glad to see their program is on the rebound (pun not intended).

  1. Akelamalu says:

    We have bright sunshine here today and yesterday - it's SPRING!!

  1. Travis says:

    Jay: We've got a bright sunshiny day today and we'll be taking advantage of it shortly.

    Ann: Hurrah for the ice melt!

    NNG: Me too!

    Cherie: I suspect these will be some good games!

    Linda: I thought of that too!

    V: Big East teams are proving how good that conference was this season.

    Charles: Perhaps next year.

    Coco: This is still basketball dear. Go Habs!

    LAC: I've always believe that Tom Izzo builds tournament solid teams.

    Ann: The playoffs are due any day now aren't they?

    Songbird: But a champion is still a champion.

    Akelamalu: Huzzah for spring!

  1. Jamie says:

    I'll be rooting for that Villanova upset myself. Let's hope we are right.

  1. DrillerAA says:

    Personally Trav, I think you're gonna be 0-2 this round. I thought UConn looked very vulnerable against Mizzou. And yes, Michigan State gets the win.
    N.C. just seems to have all of the answers and I think they will solve Nova and face the Spartans.

    Note: Yes, this comment did come after the UConn/MSU match up, but it how I felt before the game.

  1. DrillerAA says:

    Wow!!! I can't believe I actually made this prediction in your post on Monday. I've never been that accurate before.

  1. Taking a faceplant for the team is definitely admirable!

  1. You'd be so proud of me. I actually posted about basketball, well, kind of, for Manic Monday!
    Hope the end of the month bad stuff is over for you...

  1. Travis says:

    Jamie: Sadly, it wasn't close.

    Drilleraa: How right you were. I sucked at picking winners in the late rounds this time.

    Julia: Indeed!

    Gracie: I saw that in my reader. Well done!