STARKVILLE, Miss (WTVA) - Ben Howland thinks it's arrogant to call the NIT a consolation prize.
When asked how he got his team to buy into the NIT experience and not view the tournament as a 'consolation prize,' Howland said,
“You have to be pretty arrogant to look at the NIT as a consolation in my opinion. It is a great honor. I have been around long enough to know the history and tradition of the NIT and having coached a couple other teams at different schools that went on to the NIT and used that as a spring board to the following year. I know how that has worked in the past at Northern Arizona and Pittsburgh, so I knew this would be a great experience for us. It depends on your team, we aren’t a senior laden team. We are a team that doesn’t have a senior on it. The post season play to play Baylor at Baylor, Louisville at Louisville, if we aren’t in the NIT we aren’t playing those games. I think we have grown a lot from that experience. When I hear people talk about how they look at it as a consolation, that to me is a very arrogant point of view, and I don’t agree with that. I think it is an incredible honor to be in postseason play. Obviously, we would have preferred to be in the NCAA Tournament, as everybody would, but that didn’t happen so we’re excited, and I think our team has shown they are enjoying playing basketball this time of the year.”
Mississippi State faces Penn State Tuesday night in the NIT semifinals.
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