The University of South Florida men’s basketball team won’t be joining the NCAA dance, but the Bulls are still in a good place.
They will get a bid to the NIT and before supporters start bowing their heads in disappointment they need to ask themselves a question.
For a program that hasn’t been to any post season tournament in eight years, would you rather go a remote venue where no fans could travel and lose a first round game or play in the NIT and get a chance to create some ripples in the college basketball world.
USF (20-12) will likely get one or two home games in the NIT and the Bulls have a chance to gain some very nice notoriety, especially if they make it to Madison Square Garden for the NIT semifinals.
This is a program that has been in the Big East infirmary since it joined the conference five years ago. It’s just starting to gain its health and the NIT is the perfect remedy.
Let’s not forget USF went 11-54 in its first four years of Big East play before compiling a 9-9 record this season. The Bulls are two victories away from tying the school single season record for wins (22) and wouldn’t it be nice to do it at the Sun Dome.
USF is projected as being a one through three seed in the NIT, which means at least one home game and a very good chance to reach that 22.
The USF women won the NIT last year and it brought them a nice bunch of plaudits plus the biggest honor the program has ever received.
This would also give the younger Bulls a chance to get more playing time and experience, which will be needed next year especially if Dominique Jones comes out for the draft and leaves along with departing seniors Chris Howard and Mike Mercer.
An NIT championship might even convince Jones to stick around for another year and that in itself is worth its weight in gold.