It’s been a tough 24 hours for Wisconsin Badger fans. After a 65-57 loss to Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament yesterday, the NCAA Tournament hopes for the Badgers are thin. Most teams that stay on the bubble and miss the tournament are usually invited to the next tournament. That is the NIT Tournament. The NIT used to be bigger and better than the NCAA Tournament, but that was a long time ago. It’s been an interesting discussion among Badgers Twitter. Some fans would love to see more basketball from the Badgers. Other would not like to see this team in the NIT. Personally, I would like to see Wisconsin accept an NIT Tournament berth if they are asked.
NIT Tournament Could Create Momentum For Next Season
At one point yesterday, Wisconsin was down by 27 points. The execution and effort were not there for over three quarters of the game. Credit the Badgers for getting back into the game, but there weren’t any moral victories or momentum taken away from that game.
I think for a young team like the Badgers, momentum is important heading into the summer and into next season. You want to end your season feeling good about some areas of an individual’s game and as a team. I think not accepting an NIT Tournament invite would leave this team on a sour note. It could create motivation from the players, but the way this ended yesterday, I would hate to see the season end like that.
A Team Being Rewarded
Greg Gard mentioned after the Purdue game; he wants to see his team be rewarded for the progress his team made. While the results didn’t always show, I thought this team got better in February after a poor month of January that saw them lose seven of eight games at one point.
Yes, the NIT Tournament is nowhere near the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA Tournament rewards 68 of the best teams in the country. The NIT is not a bad tournament. There are a lot of quality teams, and a good chunk of them being power five teams. This team deserves to feel some postseason play. Despite the record, they had some really good moments and got 11 quad one and two wins.
I know fans have said Wisconsin is too good for the NIT, and it’s mediocre. I disagree with that and all of that.
NIT Tournament Gives Us A Look At The Current Roster
Gard made it clear Wisconsin will be going into the transfer portal this offseason. They need to hit on a backup center and get at least one good shooter, if not two. Players such as Tyler Wahl, Steven Crowl, Max Klesmit, and Chucky Hepburn don’t necessarily need the NIT Tournament and the extra reps, but there are a lot of players that could benefit from it.
Gard might stay with his regular rotation, but players such as Kamari McGee, Jordan Davis, Isaac Lindsey, Carter Gilmore and Chris Hodges could use potential extra minutes and a last impression on this coaching staff. The staff could also use some more looks at these players before they know who they want to target in the portal. These players did not play consistent minutes outside of Gilmore. It’s fair to say we don’t really know what this second group brings.
An NIT Tournament invite is not a guarantee either. Wisconsin has to be given an at-large bid. We will see if they get it if they miss the NCAA Tournament.
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