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Comments about ‘BYU basketball notebook: Cougars have impressive history with NIT’

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Published: Sunday, March 31 2013 8:00 p.m. MDT

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wattsde
Sandy, UT

"Madison Square Garden in 1951 and 1966, back when the NIT was a bigger deal than the NCAA tournament." And I really believe that which I remembered my dad always watch the NIT which was a big deal at that time.

Anyway, good luck and have fun.

Civil
Salt Lake City, UT

In NIT was as big or bigger than the NCAA in 1951. In 1966? No way. Yet it was still a big deal. I remember the Utes' run to the NIT Finals in 1974, led by Mike Sojourner, Ticky Burden, and featuring Jeff Judkins. The state was energized, and any Ute fan who downplays the NIT Tournament wasn't a fan in 1974.

In the late 60's and early 70's, the NCAA tournament was only 23-25 teams, meaning there were PLENTY of talented teams in the NIT. In fact, during that time period the three best teams in the country were UCLA's Varsity, bench, and Freshman teams (When Lew Alcindor and Bill Walton were centers of their respective Freshman teams, the Freshman were better than the varsity. Swen Nater became an ABA all-star and led the NBA and ABA in rebounding, but never started a game for UCLA).

But I digress. In the 40's and 50's, when both BYU and Utah won titles, the NIT was as big a deal as the NCAA. (Two teams won both." The 60's and 70's? Not so much.

Bleed Crimson
Sandy, Utah

"Cougars have impressive history with NIT"

Blah Blah Blah! Here we go again!

UtesBy5
Syracuse, UT

Jeff Call wrote: "The Cougars captured the NIT championship at Madison Square Garden in 1951 and 1966, back when the NIT was a bigger deal than the NCAA tournament."

Jeff, please go watch the movie "Glory Road" and get back to us if you still believe the NIT was a "bigger deal" than the NCAA Tournament in 1966.

The 1966 NCAA Tournament's Final Four was: Kentucky, Duke, Utah and Texas Western (UTEP). Don Haskins started an all black team against Adolf Rupp's all white team. Haskins and Texas Western won the championship that year which was the only year from 1964 - 1973 that Johnny Wooden's UCLA Bruins did not win the NCAA Championship. Incidentally, Jerry Chambers of Utah was voted the most outstanding player of the Final Four.

The NCAA selected their tournament teams first, then the NIT filled out their brackets.

Good luck to BYU, it would be great to see them win the NIT! Also, good luck to the Lady Utes in the final four of the WNIT.

Two For Flinching
Salt Lake City, UT

"The Cougars captured the NIT championship at Madison Square Garden in 1951 and 1966, back when the NIT was a bigger deal than the NCAA tournament."

I don't think that's true. In 1950 the NCAA ruled that teams could only play in one post-season tournament. Since that time the NCAA has been a bigger deal since they had the first pick of teams, even though the NIT was still highly regarded.

Wasatch Al
South Jordan, UT

In 1966 the NIT was the tournament for the second place teams in the league. It was bigger than today, but was NOT bigger than the NCAA. In 1966, Utah won the league and went to the NCAA and second place BYU went to the NIT. It's great to see BYU's success in the NIT this year, but please don't rewrite history.

TheSportsAuthority
Arlington, VA

Bleed Crimson

"Blah Blah Blah! Here we go again!"

An accurate description of Utah basketball for the last eight years.

The NIT was on par with the NCAA in 1951, and, only slightly behind in 1966. The 1966 NCAA tournament only included 22 teams, so there were a lot of very good teams in the 1966 NIT.

Even today, making it to the final four of any 32-team tournament, pre- or post-season, is a significant accomplishment.

Parry is a Farce
Layton, UT

"Jim Jimas was Marty Haws' coach at Hillcrest High School. Marty Haws, a former Cougar, is the father of Tyler Haws, who is BYU's leading scorer. "

You're sure someone doesn't have a postal carrier who has a cousin who knows someone who dated a friend of a member of the 1966 team? You might get a third link.

"The Cougars captured the NIT championship at Madison Square Garden in 1951 and 1966, back when the NIT was a bigger deal than the NCAA tournament."

Bet ya, that if BYU goes on to win this NIT, we'll see an article that includes: "The Cougars captured the NIT championship at Madison Square Garden in 1951, 1966, and 2013 back when the NIT was a bigger deal than the NCAA tournament" in 20 or 30 years (or even next year) when they get to another NIT final four.

cougarinboston
Orem, UT

It's a fact that in 1951, most considered the NIT the true National Championship. In 1966, there were still a few ranked teams (such as #19 BYU) that played in the NIT, but the NCAA had surpassed the NIT in strength and popularity.

The NCAA didn't start to compel a team to take the NCAA invitation until 1970, contrary to what a poster above said.

What really started to turn the tide in favor of the NCAA tournament, was when the NCAA granted itself, the NCAA, exclusive rights to broadcast any postseason games on TV in 1953. That left the NIT out in the cold, and things started to change from there. It wasn't until the 1955 that the NCAA tournament started to schedule itself at the same time as the NIT. Before that, it waited for a week until the NIT was over.

Also, the NIT vs. NCAA thing was somewhat of a racial issue. The "black" teams wouldn't play in the NCAA until the mid 50's, because of the rough treatment they received at Southern schools that largely avoided the NIT with it's Northeast schools and their Black players.

Parry is a Farce
Layton, UT

It is just a matter of spinning the facts to your advantage and both Ute and Cougar fans do it.

Like the 1984 National Football Championship that BYU won. Ute fans discredit it and Cougar fans look to it as the greatest feat ever. In my opinion, Utah's 2008 season was more impressive based on dominating Alabama (who had been 12-0 and ranked #1 prior to losing the SEC championship game -plus I think the 2008 MWC was stronger than the 1984 WAC). BYU beat an unranked 6-6 Michigan team who finished in the middle of the Big 10. If Utah had had their 2008 season in the mid-80s they'd have a national championship too. If BYU had had their 1984 season in the late 2000s, they'd not.

BYU fans love to downplay the 1944 Utah NCAA title, pointing to how great the 51 and 66 NIT titles were but never mention the 1947 NIT that Utah won. But Utah fans never acknowledge the prestige associated with the NIT back then.

Also, yes the NCAA only had 24-ish teams in the mid 60s, but the NIT only had 14 in 1966, BYU had a firstround bye.

Kralon
HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA

The NIT was a big deal and better most years until 1971. In 1970 several NCAA schools (such as Marquette) chose to play in the NIT rather than the NCAA tournament because they thought it gave them better exposure. This made the NCAA mad because some of the teams in the NIT were considered 'final four' teams so the NCAA passed a rule requiring NCAA members to attend the NCAA tournament which rule took effect with the 1971 tournament. Thus from 1971 on the NIT tournament became the 'leftovers' tournament.

UtesBy5
Syracuse, UT

@cougarinboston

"It's a fact that in 1951, most considered the NIT the true National Championship. In 1966, there were still a few ranked teams (such as #19 BYU) that played in the NIT, but the NCAA had surpassed the NIT in strength and popularity."

It was not a fact that in 1951 most considered the NIT the true National Championship. The highest ranked team that played in the NIT in 1951 was North Carolina State at #8. BYU was ranked #11.

In the final AP poll before the tournaments, Kentucky was #1. Kentucky beat #4 Kansas State for the NCAA National Championship. FYI, Kansas State beat BYU in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 1951 (BYU played in both tournaments). Kentucky was regarded as the National Champions in 1951.

"The NCAA didn't start to compel a team to take the NCAA invitation until 1970, contrary to what a poster above said."

Not true. The NCAA began requiring the conference champions to compete in the NCAA Tournament during the early 1950s.

Also, BYU was the only ranked team invited to the 1966 NIT.

Good luck BYU!

UtesBy5
Syracuse, UT

@Kralon

"The NIT was a big deal and better most years until 1971. In 1970 several NCAA schools (such as Marquette) chose to play in the NIT rather than the NCAA tournament because they thought it gave them better exposure."

This isn't a true statement. Yes, #9 Marquette's coach Al McGuire did choose the NIT over the NCAA Tournament in 1970 but only because he was upset with his seeding. He wanted to play closer to home. Marquette was an independent team so they could reject the bid (the top 10 NCAA conference champions were required to accept NCAA Tournament bids beginning in the early 1950s).

In 1971 the NCAA began requiring the teams to accept NCAA Tournament bids if invited because of the Marquette incident.

The NCAA Tournament was absolutely bigger than the NIT beginning in the early 1950s. Johnny Wooden and the UCLA Bruins dominated during the 1960s - early 1970s. Lew Alcinder's UCLA teams choosing the NIT over the NCAA Tournament? No way!

The NCAA Tournament invited less than half of the teams they invite today and the NIT invited 14 teams so both tournaments had stronger teams from top to bottom.

Good luck to BYU!

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