2006_03_snit.jpgAs most of the country fawns over George Mason's surprise advancement to the Final Four, four teams will fight it out for the National Invitational Tournament championship at Madison Square Garden this week. Pundits joke the winner represents the 66th best team in the country, but Gothamist has found it usually represents the best power conference team to not make that other tournament, the NCAA Championship version.

This year, three power conference teams (Michigan, Louisville and South Carolina) find themselves at the Garden. Like the NCAA's Final Four, the three are joined by a Colonial team, Old Dominion. Michigan probably stands the best chance to win, but team's motivations in the NIT can never be predicted. Sometimes they care, and sometimes they realize they're playing out the string (hello, Maryland) while fans clamor for the real thing a few days later. After all, there's a reason some call it the "Not Invited Tournament."