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Jacobs On The ACC And The NIT!

Barry Jacobs takes a look at the ACC and the pre-season NIT.

How ACC Teams Have Fared In The NIT Season Tip-Off, Since Event Began In 1985

(Third- And Fourth-Place Determined In Consolation Games)
Fourth Place Third Place Runnerup Champion
Florida State, 1992 UNC, 1988 Georgia Tech, 1991 Duke, 1985
Duke, 1990 Duke, 1996 UNC, 1998
UNC. 1993 Florida State, 1997 Duke, 2000
Georgia Tech, 1995 Wake Forest, 2001 UNC, 2002
Maryland, 1999 Georgia Tech, 2003
Wake Forest, 2004
Duke, 2005
  • Duke, Arizona, and Kansas have each won the early NIT three times. KU’s wins came under head coach Roy Williams, now at UNC. North Carolina, Indiana and Syracuse each own a pair of preseason NIT titles.
  • Four of the previous 20 winners of the preseason NIT went on to reach that season’s NCAA Final Four: Duke in 1985-86, UNLV in 1986-87, Duke in 2000-01, and Georgia Tech in 2003-04. No other ACC participants in the event reached the Final Four at the conclusion of the season.
  • Duke’s win gives the ACC seven of the 21 titles in the preseason event, including the last four, five of the last six, and six of the last eight. The Big 12 has won four times, the Pac-10 three. Only the ACC has had more than two teams win the championship – Duke, Georgia Tech, UNC, and Wake Forest.
  • Recall that the year of the NIT is the start of a season, so Duke’s win in 2005 will be credited to the ‘06 squad.
    Four NIT winners from the ACC went on to the NCAA championship game: Duke in 1985-86 got to the finals; Duke in 2000-01 won the title, and Georgia Tech in 2003-04 made it to the finals.
  • The ACC and other power conferences have one representative in the field each year the preseason NIT is played. The Blue Devils made their fifth appearance in 2005, most by an ACC member.
  • Every school in the ACC prior to the most recent expansions has been invited to the early NIT with the exception of Clemson. Maryland and N.C. State were invited once each.
  • Virginia in 1986 was the only ACC squad ever eliminated in the opening round, losing at home to Temple.
  • Better than 80 percent of ACC teams (17 of 21) advanced to the preseason NIT’s Final Four in New York. The only squads that failed to notch the necessary pair of wins were Virginia in 1986, Georgia Tech in 1987, N.C. State in 1989, and Virginia in 1994.
  • TV announcers simplified history and ignored a few incarnations, but the early event has been variously named the Pre-Season NIT, Big Apple NIT, Chase
    Preseason NIT, TiVo Preseason NIT, Dodge NIT, and in its current manifestation under NCAA management, the NIT Season Tip-Off.
  • Ohio in 1994 became the only team from a non-power conference to win the preseason NIT. Higher-profile schools usually get a pair of home games to start the competition, on the theory they’ll draw more fans and garner more publicity should they reach the semifinals in New York’s Madison Square Garden.
  • UNC’s Jeff Lebo, currently head coach at Auburn, had an early NIT-record 17 assists against UT-Chattanooga in 1988. The record for most 3-pointers made in a preseason NIT game belongs to Duke’s Shane Battier, with nine against Princeton in 2000. Those who fret over freshmen should keep in mind that Battier made a grand total of four shots from 3-point range in 1998, his debut season as a Blue Devil.
  • The idea of deciding the third-and fourth-place finishers with a consolation game mimics the system used in the NCAA Tournament through 1981. Longtime UNC coach Dean Smith was a prominent opponent of forcing players to swallow their disappointment to compete in a consolation contest. (Smith was 1-2 in such games.) Smith is now on a six-member committee asked to “forge the strategic direction for the NIT Season Tip-Off and postseason NIT tournaments,” according to a press release from the NIT. Look for the consolation game to be eliminated.
Appearances And Records In Preseason NIT Per ACC Team
Duke 5 18-2 1985, 1990, 1996, 2000, 2005
Florida State 2 5-3 1992, 1997
Georgia Tech 4 11-3 1987, 1991, 1995, 2003
Maryland 1 3-1 1999
North Carolina 4 14-2 1988, 1993, 1998, 2002
N.C. State 1 1-1 1989
Virginia 2 1-2 1986, 1994
Wake Forest 2 7-1 2001, 2004

How ACC Winners Of Early NIT Fared During Subsequent Full Season
School Season ACC Record ACC
Overall NCAA
Duke 1985-86 12-2, 1st champion 37-3 title game
UNC 1998-99 10-6, 3rd final 24-10 first round
Duke 2000-01 13-3, 1st (tie) champion 35-4 champion
UNC 2002-03 6-10, 6th (tie) semifinal 19-16 not invited
Georgia Tech 2003-04 9-7, 3rd (tie) semifinal 28-10 title game
Wake 2004-05 13-3, 2nd quarterfinal 27-6 second round
Duke 2005-06 Yet to be determined.