Date: Thursday, April 3, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. CT
Location: New York, N.Y.
Arena: Madison Square Garden (18,200)
TV: ESPN - John Saunders (Play-by-Play); Fran Fraschilla and Bob Knight (Analysts)
Radio: Learfield/1500 ESPN Twin Cities - Mike Grimm (Play-by-Play); Spencer Tollackson (Analyst)
Series: 10th meeting (3-6)
Series (Neutral): First meeting
Current Streak: L-1
Richard Pitino vs. SMU: 0-0
Minnesota vs. AAC: 24-18
Richard Pitino vs. AAC: 0-1
GAME DAY TID-BITS
The top-seeded Minnesota Golden Gophers continue play in the 2014 National Invitational Tournament, facing fellow #1 seed SMU Thursday in the championship game.
This is the 13th appearance in program history at the NIT, not including 1996 and 1998 appearances that were later vacated. The Gophers have amassed a 26-12 record (.684) in NIT games, excluding vacated seasons.
Under first-year head coach, the Gophers set a new school record with their 24th victory of the season on Tuesday night.
Minnesota is making its sixth trip to Madison Square Garden for the NIT, excluding vacated seasons. The Gophers won the 1993 NIT, finished second in 1980 and 2012, and won the third-place game in 2003. Minnesota won the 1998 NIT but later vacated the title. The 1972 NIT, in which Minnesota fell in the quarterfinals, was played entirely at MSG.
The Gophers are playing in the month of April for just the fourth time in the school's 118-year program history. Minnesota is 4-3 in April, including a NIT runner-up finish in 2002-03. Minnesota was 1-2 in 1897 and 1-0 in April 1899.
This is Minnesota's first-ever number-one seed in the NIT, dating back to 2006 when the tournament was first fully seeded. In that time, the Gophers have been seeded #4 in 2006 and 2008, and #6 in 2012.
The Gophers are squaring off against the Mustangs for the 10th time, but the first in 52 years. SMU defeated the Gophers, 100-80, in Dallas in the two teams' last meeting on Dec. 20, 1962.
Minnesota has followed its last two NIT trips with berths in the NCAA Tournament in the very next season.
Senior guard Austin Hollins broke Rodney Williams's school record last week with Hollins's 135th career appearance in the Maroon and Gold. Hollins' school record now stands at 140 games. Hollins also needs just six steals to tie the school record held by Melvin Newbern (215).