NEW YORK CITY (KXAN) — Texas basketball arrived in New York City Monday two wins away from its first NIT Championship since 1978.
The Longhorns understand this isn’t where the program wants to be, but also know this is a chance to win some sort of championship.
“It’s a long season. We’re still practicing. We’re still playing…still surviving and advancing, you could say. We had hopes to play in March Madness, but that didn’t work out. We’re still playing for a chance to win a championship in New York, so that means something,” guard Matt Coleman said.
Whether winning the title is a boost or an indicator of success for the next season isn’t clear based off past champions. Although, it is a common narrative used by broadcasters and media.
Out of the past 10 NIT Champions, only three teams advanced to the NCAA Tournament the next season.
TCU is one of the three teams that reached the ‘Big Dance’ in 2018 after its 2017 NIT title run. The Longhorns reunite with the Horned Frogs for the third time this season in Tuesday’s NIT semifinals.
Texas has all kinds of motivation going into this match up.
TCU is largely responsible for keeping Texas out of the NCAA’s with a 69-56 rout of the Longhorns in the regular season finale in Austin.
TCU is a thorn in the side of Texas head coach Shaka Smart. The Longhorns are 2-6 against TCU under Smart, but they’ll get a chance at redemption 1800 miles away from Texas.
“We don’t want to lose to them a third time. The first time we gave them the game and the second time they came in and punched us on our senior night. Ultimately, we want to win a championship, so they’re in our way,” guard Courtney Ramey said.
The Longhorns and Horned Frogs tip off in the second semifinal of the night at Madison Square Garden. Lipscomb and Wichita State play in the opener scheduled to start at 6 p.m.. The two winners will play in the championship Thursday.