North Carolina will play Dayton on Thursday in the final game of the NIT Championship 2010. If the Tar Heels manage to win, they will be the the first program to follow an NCAA national title with an NIT title.
The NIT actually predates the NCAA championship in terms of history. It was started in 1938, predating the NCAA Tournament, by one year. The NIT consists of 32 teams, and formerly all games were held in Madison Square Garden. A change was made in 1977, now only the Quarter finals through Championship games are in MSG.
In the NIT championship 2010, a number of teams that usually make the NCAA saw off years and were in this tournament. Among the teams in the NIT this year that normally are seeded in the NCAA, or at least, have been at some time in the past, are the Tar Heels, but also Texas Tech, NC State, UConn.
In order to reach the NIT championship game, North Carolina had to squeak out a win over the Rhode Island Rams (26-10). The Tar Heels won 68-67 in overtime Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, Dayton (24-12) overcame Mississippi (24-11) 68-63. Chris Johnson scored 22 points, and had to make five tense (and key) free throws down the stretch.
The NIT championship 2010 will be decided Thursday night, April 1st. The game will begin at 7 PM ET, broadcast on ESPN.
Written by Michael Santo