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46 Days to B1G Basketball: How Have Big Ten Teams Fare After a NIT Title?

Today we continue our daily countdown towards the tipoff of the Big Ten basketball season.

Mike Stobe

In Richard Pitino's first season as coach at Minnesota the program flashed occasional signs of brilliance but couldn't consistently win enough games and had to settle for a trip to the NIT.

The postseason experienced turned out to be a positive one as the Gophers won all five games to become the 2014 NIT Champions. The journey to the title was definitely a challenge, with all games being decided by single digits, the semi-final game versus Florida State going to overtime and both games in New York being decided by a total of four points.

Nonetheless, people tend to talk about the NIT and how it can be a launch board for success later on as it's a valuable way to gain some postseason experience. So let's take a look at what the teams in the Big Ten have done to follow up their NIT title runs in the past:

Year School Record Next Season Postseason Result
2014 Minnesota n/a n/a
2009 Penn State 11-20 None
2008 Ohio State 22-11 Lost First Round
2004 Michigan 13-18 None
1998 Minnesota* 17-11 Lost First Round
1997 Michigan* 25-9 Lost Second Round
1996 Nebraska 18-15 None
1993 Minnesota 22-13 Lost Second Round
1986 Ohio State 20-13 Lost Second Round
1984 Michigan 26-4 Lost Second Round
1979 Indiana 21-8 Lost Regional Semifinal
1974 Purdue 17-11 None
1972 Maryland 23-7 Lost Regional Final

* = Vacated

As you can see there's some good news for Minnesota as about 67% of the teams have found their way back into the NCAA Tournament the next season. On the other hand...no team has made it past the second round after winning the NIT since sometime before coach Richard Pitino was even born, with Indiana making it to the regional semifinal three years beforehand (interestingly enough they lost to Purdue, who they actually beat in the NIT Final the year prior).

It'll be interesting to see how Minnesota follows up last years NIT run. Their postseason run did add some postseason experience for guys like Andre Hollins and DeAndre Mathieu (who saw two games in the NCAA Tournament in 2013), while it was actually Pitino's first experience with the post season in his second year as a head coach (first year at FIU he missed the postseason with a 18-14 record). I'd probably put more weight on the Gophers ability to win five games in a row that all came down to the wire, as well as knocking off two good programs in Florida State and SMU.

Either way, only time will tell if the Gophers use last springs run to launch them back into the NCAA Tournament this year. With a slew of guys returning and a young, talented head coach in Richard Pitino, one has to think that they will.