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Tuesday, March 15, 2016
PLAY-IN GAME HAS FAMILIAR "N.I.T. FEEL" FOR MICHIGAN BASKETBALL COACH JOHN BEILEIN
John Beilein is feeling better about his team's post-season destiny. While he had his heart set on the National Invitational Tournament (NIT), he plans to "soldier up" and do his best with a paltry bid to the NCAAs. What made the difference?
Beilein says the Play-In Game assignment has an "NIT feel" to it, being on a Wednesday night against Tulsa, a team that has basically made its name as an NIT participant. He expects a small crowd to be at the game, similar to most other teams that play in his favorite tournament. And he knows that practically nobody will be watching on television, the same as all of the other NIT teams.
So he's got his mojo back in order as he tries to replicate that one shining moment in 2007 when he brought home the bacon in New York City as the undisputed champion of the NIT. He's pointing out to his players there is still a pathway to The Big Apple, since Notre Dame awaits the winner on Friday night.
As for those other teams that seemed to have equal or better credentials that did not get a ticket to The Big Dance? Beilein says they're lucky to be in the NIT, a tournament they could actually win.
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