Floriani’s NIT Diary: Ganging Up on the Garden

Posted by Brian Goodman on April 2nd, 2011


Ray Floriani of College Chalk Talk is an RTC contributor. While covering the NIT Final Four at Madison Square Garden, Ray sent us photographic evidence of his mischief along with a few notes.

This tournament still has a place, a big place. Teams might not get on the board Selection Sunday, and there is an initial disappointment in not getting in the Big Dance. Once the games and challenges present themselves, the participants realize the NIT is a big deal.  The nation’s oldest postseason tournament has tradition and history on its side. Plus, the Final Four earn a trip to New York and the chance to play on the hallowed court of Madison Square Garden as an added incentive.


A rainy afternoon greets visitors and rush hour commuters outside of the ‘world’s most famous arena’. The Celtic Thunder announcement depicted does not pertain to a certain NBA franchise about 220 miles to the north.

About forty minutes prior to tip, the teams are out on the floor. It’s a good time to get used to the rims, stretch out and eliminate some pregame nerves. As Alabama warms up, a cameraman takes the opportunity to get a few shots.

Wichita State fans brought a good following that enjoyed both games and, to no surprise, the championship. Here is a few of their more imaginative signs.

The mandatory cheer shot. Here, Ray poses with a few of the young ladies from Wichita State. All four schools brought a cheer squad or dance team (or both). They genuinely enjoyed seeing the sights and sounds of New York. The Wichita State group enjoyed, among other sites, a Broadway play. And winning the NIT.


Graham Hatch cuts down the net following the 66-57 Shocker victory to give them the title. Hatch scored 12 points on four of four shooting (all from three). He hit several big threes down the stretch to seal the first NIT crown for Wichita State.

Gregg Marshall is appreciative of history and tradition. He spoke of seeing the 1969-70 New York Knick NBA champion photo in the hallway and reminded two former Wichita State players (Nate Bowman and Dave ‘The Rave’ Stallworth) were on that team. He also spoke with reverence and humility regarding how special it was to compete at the Garden and win the NIT.  As Marshall approached center court for his award, he whispered to NIT committee member Don DeVoe, “Virginia Tech in 1973” (the team DeVoe coached to the title). DeVoe replied, “this (championship) they can never take away from you.”

Brian Goodman (966 Posts)

Brian Goodman a Big 12 microsite writer. You can follow him on Twitter @BSGoodman.

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