Defending the National Invitational Tournament title is not something a basketball program sets as its goal the year after winning it. The coach and players no doubt would prefer a berth in the NCAA tournament than a trip to New York for the NIT championship. Still, South Carolina coach Dave Odom and his players got that return trip and the bonus of a 76-64 win over Michigan Thursday. Better to win the NIT than lose in it, Gothamist supposes.
But Gothamist had to scratch its head at some of Odom's comments in the postgame news conference. He compared South Carolina's winning back to back championships to St. John's consecutive titles in 1943 and 1944. One problem: teams wanted to win the NIT then more than they wanted the NCAA title. After saying the ultimate goal is to enter the NCAA tourament, Odom said that still didn't demean the championship at all. Despite winning the NIT championship, this still has to be a disappointing season for South Carolina. They brought back four starters and can't assert themselves in their Southeastern Conference. Gothamist hopes Odom spoke the way he did to make his seniors happy, not because he actually believed what was coming out of his mouth.
Photo by Tien Mao