To the present, the Final Four at Madison Square Garden featured Temple, Miami(Fl.), Stanford and Old Dominion. For the record, Temple captured the first NIT, a six-team field. Stanford captured a title in the early nineties, and again just three years ago. Old Dominion was a NIT Final Four team in 2006 and Miami, a strong program in their own right, proudly carried the banner of the ACC.
On this night, there was no shortage of drama, no shortage of respect for the long-standing value of this outstanding tournament. Temple came out cold in the second half and fell by three, 60-57, to Miami. Both coaches, Fran Dunphy of Temple and Jim Larranaga of Miami spoke with reverence and pride about being here competing on the Garden floor in this special event.
Old Dominion fell behind by 15 in the first five minutes. The Monarchs battled back and took a lead, only to relent to the Cardinal over the final six minutes. Stanford moved on, 67-60 victors, hoping to bring a second NIT title in four years back to Palo Alto.
So, the stage is set. Miami and Stanford, set to battle for the championship. Another chapter to an outstanding postseason get-together. The oldest, but in many ways, the most storied. Many would agree with that last statement.
Back in the day, Bob Knight was tough on officials. Here, "The General" cordially chats with an official arguably every coach is glad to see, Ed Corbett:
Miami's Jim Larranaga on the sidelines:
Miami's Omar Sherman (22) and Ivan Cruz Uceda (33) getting advice before heading out of a timeout:
Temple's Quenton DeCosey looks for an opening on the perimeter:
While Temple and Miami are going at it, Stanford limbers up under the MSG stands:
Temple's Fran Dunphy meets the media after a hard-fought loss ended a successful 26-11 season:
Old Dominion on offense:
The Stanford coaching staff in the huddle. To the right is former Fairfield coach Tim O'Toole: