One of our most read blogs ever featured our first games using the home court advantage, and the last four home NIT games are covered below to determine the 2020 Final 4 in the Value Add Basketball Game. See 2020 title game or all-time tourney using these player cards.
We recorded every dice roll of the NIT Championship game, which you can access here. Minnesota's center Daniel Oturu was the first player in the tournament to score 30 points and to block nine shots, and they needed every one of them in the overtime game. Here is the final expanded box score of the title game. Minnesota was ranked 27th in the country at the end of the season at www.kenpom.com, and if this had been the real tournament then they would have shot into the top 20 with the five wins - making them the third straight NIT champion to finish in the top 25 according to that site.
Final 4 NIT semifinals: After the home team had the exact same 19-9 record as in the real 2019 NIT, we shifted the neutral site rules for the Final 4. Game accounts appear most recent game first.
NIT Championship Play-by-Play and Box Score is in progress here.
11-Minnesota 78, 2-Purdue 74. At first glance, an NIT semifinal rematch between two conference foes might sound boring, but I would have loved to see it come down to this. Minnesota's Value Add All-American center Daniel Oturu clinched our NIT tournament MVP with a 26 point, tournament high 17 rebound performance against perhaps the best 1-2 punch at center around in Matt Haarms (10, 4 and 4 blocked shots) and Trevion Williams (13,12). The wild final 3 minutes that sent Minnesota to the title game against Xavier is at the bottom of the photo.
After the game I looked up the actual season on www.kenpom.com, and some incredible numbers. While picked to go NIT as a 1- and 3-seed out of the brutal Big Ten, Pomeroy rates Minnesota as the 27th best team in the country, and Purdue as the 24th. The 2020 Big Ten's +17.49 (average Big Ten team would beat thr average NCAA team by 17.49 points) basically ties it for the best conference of the century with the 2013 Big Ten (17.54) except for conferences with 10 or fewer teams. A couple of recent 10-team Big 12 seasons have topped the mark, and the 9-team 2004 ACC was the best ever at +20. However, to have the 12th and 10th place team in your conference both in Pomeroy's top 27 argues for this being the best conference of the century.
In the actual regular season game, Purdue won with home court advantage (our game was played with neutral court rules at Madison Square Garden) 83-78 in overtime, despite Oturu actually topoing our board game performance with 29 points and 18 rebounds. He did play 45 minutes due to the overtime.
1-Xavier (51-56 dunk) 83, 20-Alabama (51-56 dunk) 76: Alabama made it through 3 rounds despite one of the weakest defenses in the NIT with hot shooting, but it caught up to them against overall No. 1 seed Xavier. PG Paul Scruggs (23 points, 4 steals) hit three of his four 3-pointers, including one he turned into a 4-point play, in the first 5 minutes if the second half to lead an 18-5 run that put Xavier up for good 55-44. He then drew a 5th foul on Bama's star PG Kira Lewis, though backup James Bolden (19 points) played great off the bench. Xavier's two Value Add All-Big East players were dominant with Naji Marshall (23 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks) and center Tyrique Jones (11, 11, 1, 4) outplaying their Alabama counterparts by a combined 11 rebounds and 16 points. The game was not as close as the final score indicates, as Alabama hit two 3-pointers at the end before Xavier dribbled out the clock.
Elite 8 Games - The coins on the player cards indicate if a player in the game gets the ball only on one roll on the 8-sided die (penny) or one two rolls (dime).
11-Minnesota (51-52 dunk) 76, 14-Tennessee (51 dunk) 66. Minnesota center Daniel Oturu (16 points, 13 rebounds, 4 blocked shots) continued to look like the best player in the NIT. Tennessee pulled within a 68-66 with two minutes left when Jordan Brown drew a foul and hit both free throws. However PG Marcus Carr (14 points) scores to make it 70-66, and when the Vols had to foul, Gabe Kalscheur (game-high 21 points) hit both free throws and Payton Willis 4-point play wrapped up the 8-0 run. The best conference in 2020, the Big Ten, wrapped up their second spot in the Final 4, as Minnesota will play Purdue in one semifinal, while the surprising Alabama of the SEC will play Xavier of the Big East in the other semifinal. This was the most evenly matched Elite 8 game, with Tennessee as the 14-seed and Minnesota as the 11-seed, which would be a regional 4-seed vs. 3-seed.
20-Alabama (51-62) 88, 5-Rhode Island (51-61) 85: Our biggest "defense is optional" Value Add Basketball game to date was the first time both teams' dunk range extended into the 60s due to the combination of poor team defenses and exploding offenses. Rhode Island's 1.20 points per trip was the 4th best offensive performances of 54 NIT performances to date, but Alabama's 1.26 was the best. Rhode Island rallied for the second straight game, coming from double digits down when Jacob Toppin drew a 5th foul on Herbert Jones and hit all three free throws to make it 83-82 with 1:11 to play. However, Alabama's John Petty hit a 3-pointer on the other side and was fouled, completing the 4-point play to make it 86-83.
2-Purdue (51-55 dunk) 75, 23-Wright State (51-52 dunk) 61: Upset minded Wright State took a 26-20 lead, but Matt Haarms (18 points, 5 blocked shots) then scored 16 points on a 20-10 Purdue run. At that point Purdue's other center Trevion Williams (12 points, 9 points and 4 blocked shots) came in and his inside-outside combo with PG Eric Hunter (game-high 18 points) pulled away for the 75-61 win. The top two seeds in the tournament (Purdue and Xavier) make the Final 4 with three home games before going to the neutral court of Madison Square Garden for the semifinals and championship.
1-seed Xavier (51 dunk) 71, 9-seed Texas (51-50, no dunks) 69: Xavier continued their incredible tightrope run, winning 71-69 after beating St. John's 83-79 in the 2nd round and North Florida 79-77 in the opening round. This win against the actual defending NIT champs, came courtesy of their front line dominating the glass 46-27 behind Naji Marshall (16 points, 11 rebounds) and Tyrique Jones (13, 15). The game did not actually come down to the wire, as Xavier led 71-66 until Texas hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it a 2-point final. After being a bit shocked at how many times Xavier was scoring in their third or fourth shot of a trip because if how bad Texas rebounding cards were, I went to www.kenpom.com and realized Texas was actually 330th of 353 teams in defensive rebounding.
20-seed Alabama (51-62 dunk) at 5-seed Rhode Island (51-61 dunk)
14-seed Tennessee (51-53 dunk) at 11-seed Minnesota (51-52 dunk)
When play the game, four dice are rolled. The 8-sided die determines which of the offensive players, lined up from left to right with rolls of 1-5 getting that roll - 1-PG, 2-SG, 3-SF, 4-PF and 5-C. On a roll of 6, 7, or 8 you must look at the "Gets ball on" near the top of the player card. On a 6, look for the first player with more than one number and the ball goes to him (e.g. if the PG has a Gets Ball On 1 or 6 then he gets it, if he only has one number then check the SG to see if he has an extra number etc. On a 7 look for the second player with an extra number, and with an 8 for the third number with an extra number. If not enough players have an extra number to get a roll of 6-8 then roll all dice again, but on this roll a player only gets a ball on the 1-5, if the second roll is a 6-8 it is a shot clock violation. Once you know who has the ball, look at the chart below to read the two dice totaling 11-66, and if no result on those dice then use the 20-sided dice.