This morning, Andy Katz' Three-Point Shot video feature touched on some possible changes to the Preseason NITaka the NIT Season Tip-Off, the elite early-season tournament the Red Storm will participate in this coming November.
According to Katz, the NIT is at eight teams, not the sixteen that the tournament would need to have four four-team pods. In the four team pod system, the programs play in a bracketed tournament, with the winners of the first two rounds moving on to Madison Square Garden. Unlike some other tournaments, where the opening games are warm-ups, the hosts/ marquee programs have to win their way to the main event.
With eight teams, Katz reports, the NIT is thinking of each team playing three games at Madison Square Garden, not just two. Would that mean that the consolation bracket games would be in Manhattan?
That was unclear. But a change would mean only one hoops home game on the home courts for hosts Minnesota Golden Gophers, the Gonzaga Bulldogs and the Georgia Bulldogs.
Steve Lavin says that St. John's are all in to the NIT even if there is a potential change to the format. Curiously, Katz reports Lavin as saying that "finally, we catch a break in the scheduling where we could potentially have four games in the New York area in the tournament."
But given the structure of the tournament, St. John's was likely to have four games in New York anyway - they would play at MSG assuming they defeated Stony Brook and/ or St. Joseph's. And if they lost, as the highest-seeded team, St. John's would host the consolation basketball games.
Obviously, playing in Madison Square Garden is a more marquee opportunity, with the possibility for higher ticket sale revenue. And playing at MSG may affect the prices for season ticket holders, who may not receive that game as part of the included season package.
The Rumble will keep an eye on these developments.