NIT Should be a Pac-12 Final Away
An overall record of 15-12 and a 9th place one of 5-10 in the Pacific-12 is all you need to know about why Oregon State does not deserve a National Invitational Tournament (NIT) bid…yet. There is one exception to the statement. I stand by my article about why the Beavers can make a run at the Pac-12 championship.
I feel less confident now than a week ago about it happening, but the team still has a puncher’s chance.
This Beavers squad does not exactly conjure up images of Gary Payton’s teams, but it is worth noting that this version plays a brand of basketball worth watching and features a dynamic player that has the ability to score on any team in the country.
In full disclosure, I am neutral when it comes to the Ducks or Beavers. Winning is good for the state of Oregon regardless of who is doing it. In rare instances do I think a team should receive any goodwill due to a coach or an emergence after a period of losing, but if the Beavers defy the odds by making the Pac-12 championship game in Los Angeles, the Beavers deserve a chance to play in the NIT.
1). CollegeInsider.com (CIT) Appearances
Oregon State took the CIT in 2009 and appeared in it in 2010, signs that Coach Craig Robinson has slowly built a program that is worthy of recognition based on past other postseason tournaments. I am aware that 2010 featured a 96-78 beat down by Boston University and the point is valid that this team may not be better than that one. In a tournament scenario, I like this year’s Beavers over the 2009-2010 squad.
2). Craig Robinson
He is a one-man storyline when the political climate is cool. With the GOP primaries in full swing, imagine the attention that he will get from ESPN if Oregon State is in the NIT. Storylines featuring relatives of politicians running for offices are great for television regardless of what side of the political fence one resides.
Regardless of what you think of his brother-in-law’s jobs plan, there is always intrigue in whether Robinson deserves to keep his in Corvallis (which NWSB’s own Jason Green points out that he does).
While he has a long way to go to be confused with someone like Minnesota’s Tubby Smith, he is a good coach and he will create buzz for his opponent just by showing up on the sideline. Any attention is good attention for the NIT.
3). Pac-12 Homogenity
As I’ve said before, there is not that much of a difference in the middle of the pack in the Pac-12 as far as competitiveness goes. A 5-seed in the conference tournament is not miles ahead of an 8-seed. That said, as I have mentioned in the past Oregon State has the ability to score as they pace the Pac-12 at 79.9 points per game (and give up a conference-worse 73.2).
These Beavers are fun to watch, and if a committee is going to pick two teams with similar resumes, isn’t it better for basketball purists to watch a team that can fill up the basket?
Without a Pac-12 tournament finals appearance, all of these reasons are moot.
It would be a travesty not not award a team from another conference regardless of its size for abetter season based on the reasons I mentioned above if Oregon State can’t take care of business at the Pac-12 tournament.
A team that can’t finish close to .500 in their own conference (conference postseason included) doesn’t deserve to be in the NIT.