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A look at the past #1 NIT seeds

They say history has a way of repeating itself. I’m not sure if “they” were too concerned with the NIT when coming up with that famous quote, but hey, you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do. Kentucky enters this year’s NIT as the overall #1 seed, joining Alabama, Southern Miss and Virginia. The #1 seeds in the NIT are almost always considered to be the first four teams left out of the NCAA tournament field. The teams were usually on the bubble and within a win or two of being included. The disappointment that accompanies being that close can really resurface in one of three ways:

1) A team can use the NIT as a springboard for the next season, especially if some or most of the players are likely to return

2) A team can use the NIT as a way to put a positive spin on the disappointment– using it as a road to redemption (or at least a road to something slightly better than the disappointment)

3) A team can enter the NIT feeling snubbed and only focus on the fact that it’s not the “Big Dance.”


We will probably find out tonight which path this Kentucky team plans to take with the NIT. I thought I would take a look back at the NIT from 2006-2012 to see how the other #1 seeds finished in the tournament. Below are a few other notes before the results of the #1 seeds from the past are revealed:

 A #1 seed has not won the NIT tournament since 2008 (Ohio State)

Only six #1 seeds have made the championship game since 2006

 Three #1 seeds lost in the 1st game of the NIT

The track record for the six SEC #1 seeds since 2006 is as follows: Second round loss, Runner-Up, Second Round, Quarterfinals, Runner-Up, Final Four

In almost each tournament since 2006, a dangerous mid-major (almost never seeded #1) has made a deep run in the NIT tournament.

 Last year’s NIT Final 4 had the following seeds involved: #1 seed Washington, #6 seed Minnesota, #5 seed UMASS and #3 seed Stanford


Listed below are the #1 seeds and how far each advanced in the tournament from 2006 through 2012. Listed in italics is the dangerous mid-major team who made a deep run that particular year. 

2012- Washington (Final 4), Tennessee (Second Round), Seton Hall (Second Round), Arizona (Lost 1st round game) ,

*Dangerous Mid-Major: UMASS (Final 4)


2011– Alabama (Runner-Up), Colorado (Final 4), Boston College (Second Round), Virginia Tech (Second Round)

*Dangerous Mid-Major: Wichita State (Champs)


2010– Illinois (Quarterfinals), Arizona State (Lost 1st round game), Virginia Tech (Quarterfinals), Mississippi State (Second Round)

*Dangerous Mid-Majors: Dayton (Champs), Rhode Island (Final 4)


2009– San Diego State (Final 4), Auburn (Quarterfinals), Creighton (Second Round), Florida (Runner-Up)

 *Dangerous Mid-Major: San Diego State (actually received a #1 seed)


2008– Ohio State (Champions), Virginia Tech (Quarterfinals), Arizona State (Quarterfinals), Syracuse (Quarterfinals)

*Dangerous Mid-Major: UMASS (Runner-Up)


2007- West Virginia (Champions), Clemson (Runner-Up), Air Force (Final 4), Mississippi State (Final 4)

*This particular year, all of the #1 seeds made the Final 4. 


2006– Maryland (Lost in 1st round), Michigan (Runner-Up), Louisville (Final 4), Cincinnati (Quarterfinals)

*Dangerous Mid-Major: Old Dominion (Final 4)


Article written by Ally Tucker

I once successfully requested "The Wobble" to be played 6 times at one wedding.

9 Comments for A look at the past #1 NIT seeds

  1. Mr Obvious
    5:34 pm March 19, 2013 Permalink

    I bet back in October you never thought you would be doing NIT research in mid-March.

  2. Mr. Obvious
    5:39 pm March 19, 2013 Permalink

    Obviously, someone is not original and is still using my name.

  3. Bonnie Collins
    5:40 pm March 19, 2013 Permalink

    Kentucky is going to break the cycle! Go Big Blue Machine! Win it all!

  4. JBR
    5:53 pm March 19, 2013 Permalink

    Who freaking cares?

  5. Kentucky fans
    5:56 pm March 19, 2013 Permalink

    We care

  6. JBR
    5:58 pm March 19, 2013 Permalink

    Well, our players haven’t cared all year…at least a few of them haven’t.

  7. Kentucky fans
    6:00 pm March 19, 2013 Permalink

    It appears so, but who knows. Yes, I’d MUCH rather be in the NCAA, but I’m still going to enjoy watching them tonight, and hopefully they come ready to play

  8. Munchie
    7:13 pm March 19, 2013 Permalink

    This is hilarious.

  9. c-boy
    10:00 pm March 19, 2013 Permalink

    Cal said early in the year if he gets 3 or 4 players picked in the draft it is a good season for UK. Ask uk fans if they feel this was a good year for uk.