Here we go again
The problem with the National Invitational Tournament and preparing this column is timing. Three of the four games West Virginia has played in the tournament thus far have been played on Tuesday night while the paper was being printed. That includes last night's semi final against Mississippi State in Madison Square Garden.
That, however, does not mean there is nothing to talk about. WVU's run in the NIT should pay dividends next year as this young team gets to play and practice almost three extra weeks. The NIT run was aided in no small part by the tournament committee which had enough respect for the Mountaineer team to accord them a number one seed.
That seeding arguably played a significant role in West Virginia's advancement as close wins over Massachusetts and North Carolina State had a home court advantage type aura to them. It is probably not a coincidence that the other three semi finalists MSU, Air Force and Clemson were also number one seeds. One question overheard around the water cooler was, " When was the last time four number one seeds made a final four?"
I didn't have an answer, but if the new NIT continues to administer the tournament in this fashion, expect to see plenty of one seeds in New York in the future.
Whether or not WVU can win a NIT title may become insignificant in the whole scheme of things if some Michigan sportswriters get their way. Michigan fired Tommy Amaker last week and you'll never guess whose name popped up.
If you guessed John Beilein, you would be correct, but the process has begun in an odd fashion. So far there have not been the usual leaks from the Michigan athletic department about those coaches who are on a short list, at least no leak with Beilein's name attached to it. Lon Kruger's name has surfaced, but Kruger is apparently not interested in leaving Las Vegas. Some other names have been mentioned with athletic department ties attached to them.
Beilein's name entering the mix is being put forth by at least three writers. Two from a Detroit newspaper and one from a paper in Ann Arbor. In each case the columnist called on Michigan to hire Beilein citing his winning record and his squeaky clean way of doing business. All three suggested the $2.5 million buyout should be paid to West Virginia.
At this early stage of the week it is hard to gauge if UM is going to pursue Beilein, but it has been mentioned that Michigan wanted a coach in place ASAP. Last year we watched as NC State and Indiana considered Beilein, but ultimately let the buy out figure alter their plans. Now, it looks as though we will have to watch and wait again.