Poll: Is Georgia Tech’s NIT final run better than NCAA tournament bid?

Georgia Tech head coach Josh Pastner directs his team against Cal State Bakersfield during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the NIT Tuesday, March 28, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

NEW YORK — So here we go with the debate: Is making it to the NIT championship game bigger for Georgia Tech than a one-and-done NCAA appearance would have been?

If you haven’t been paying attention — and I understand most folks generally don’t pay attention to the NIT — Tech has advanced to the NIT title game with four straight wins. The most recent came in the tournament semifinals Tuesday night, when the Jackets dumped Cal State Bakersfield 76-61 at Madison Square Garden.

For my column on the game, click here to go to MyAJC.com.

This will be only the third time the Jackets will play for a postseason championship. The NCAA title appearance in 2004 against Connecticut stirred a bit more interest (the Jackets lost 82-73). Tech also lost to North Carolina for the NIT title in 1971.

Nobody expected Tech to go 8-10 in the ACC or win 21 games this season, so this season already has been a success, regardless of how things go against Texas Christian in the NIT championship game Thursday night. But as amazing of a run as this has been, what do you believe sounds better: “Tech made it to the NCAA tournament in coach Josh Pastner’s first season” or “Tech reached the NIT finals in coach Josh Pastner’s first season.”

I still say: an NCAA tournament bid wins, even with a quick exit.

If the Jackets win the NIT, I’d still lean toward the NCAA berth, although not by much.

Agree or disagree? I’ve posted a poll above for you to vote.

EARLIER: Georgia Tech wins again and rolls into NIT final

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Reader Comments 0

10 comments
BFTech67
BFTech67

NCAA may sound better but not sure you learn a great deal from exiting first round (if that's what would have happened). For this program and for this team playing deep into any tournament is great experience. For the Seniors to walk off the floor as NIT champions in Madison Square Garden it will feel like a great accomplishment and memory. You have opportunity to go out a winner this year ......3 yrs down the road our expectations will be different but I like where they are and excited for Thursday night. 

USMC2841
USMC2841

The NCAA would have had more esteem.  The NIT has provided an opportunity to practice and play more.  Bowing out in the first round of the NCAA wouldn't have.  GT has had several practices and four games to further master Pastner's game plan.

fez
fez

Sorry, but winning the NIT means that you are the 69th best team in the country.  There's no comparing the NIT to the big dance.

BTC
BTC

@fez Not true.  A sizable portion of the field gets in via automatic qualification for winning their conference, regardless of the level of competition they face.  That does not mean that they are better than all the teams in the NIT.

jcarson
jcarson

NIT finals much better than a first round exit in NCAA.  But I would have taken 1 win in NCAA over this.

LOGS1973
LOGS1973

@jcarson Not too smart are you?

Bet the Jackets don't feel that way..

A-pride
A-pride

Although this run in the NIT has been good for the program, they're beating teams that also didn't make the NCAA tournament. I ageee with Ken, NCAA's are still better than the finals of this tournament.

LOGS1973
LOGS1973

@A-pride No way professor and you know it..

Jackets will take the NIT winners trophy home..

GTYJ
GTYJ

Easily, without doubt, the NCAAs.  Nothing beats march madness - not even an NIT crown.  Too bad the NIT isn't completed first and the winner given the last spot in the field for the NCAAs!!

Mulk
Mulk

Tech is better than some of the teams that got in the NCAA. Tech is better than the teams that they have played in the NIT. Too much is made of "just getting in" the NCAA tourney. Getting in and winning a couple of games would be better than winning the NIT but just getting in would not mean very much.