Thursday, February 07, 2002

NIT gets bigger to help little teams

College basketball notebook

Enquirer news services

        NEW YORK — For the past 30 years, the NIT has provided a second chance for college basketball teams that didn't make the field for the NCAA Tournament.

        This year, in a one-year experiment, eight more teams will be able to extend their seasons. The Metropolitan Intercollegiate Basketball Association, which runs the preseason and postseason NITs, said Wednesday it will expand its field from 32 teams to 40.

        “Conference commissioners, athletic directors and coaches (asked) us to expand our postseason NIT field to accommodate additional teams who have had successful seasons in their conference but have failed to receive an invitation to the NCAA Tournament,” NIT executive director John J. Powers said.

        While not guaranteeing that the additional berths would all go to mid-major and lower Division I programs, Powers said the committee now has a chance to reward smaller programs that can't match the computer rankings of teams that finished sixth, seventh or even lower in more powerful conferences. “That's the type of group we're looking at with expansion in mind,” he said.

        MSJ 70, Thomas More 63

        Jarrett Young (Georgetown High School) scored 21 points and Steve Bain (Elder) had nine rebounds for the Lions (9-13). Dustin Mulberry (Grant County) had 15 points for the Saints (3-19).Women

        Thomas More 70, MSJ 55

        Bridget New (McAuley High School) had game highs with 23 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Saints (15-6). Virginia Grace (Colerain) had 12 points for the Lions (9-13), who shot just 30 percent (19-of-64) from the field.

        Cincinnati St. 98, Clark St. 56

        Christina Estrict scored 33 points for the Lady Surge (20-4, 11-0 Ohio Community College Athletic Conference).


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