What went into — and what will come of — UNM basketball's NIT berth - Albuquerque Journal

What went into — and what will come of — UNM basketball’s NIT berth

There will be at least one last night in the Pit for the 2022-23 UNM men’s basketball team, from left: Morris Udeze, Javonte Johnson, K.J. Jenkins, Jamal Mashburn Jr. and Jaelen House, pictured during a Jan. 27 game against Air Force. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

Lobo basketball was back in game-prep mode on Monday — scouting report for their NIT opponent in hand, game video edited and ready to show players and a full afternoon practice on the Pit floor.

“Like I told them,” UNM coach Richard Pitino, who won an NIT Championship while at Minnesota, told reporters on Monday, “I said ‘Guys, I’ve done it. It was a lot more fun than you’ll ever think it is. If you can go on a little bit of a run, which we did, … this is a pretty good tournament.”

While the team was back to business on the court, the business of UNM actually hosting an NIT opening game — Wednesday night’s 8 p.m. tipoff with Western Athletic Conference champion Utah Valley — has been in the works for weeks.

Last month, UNM, like dozens of other Division I programs who were considered among the teams that could end up in the 32-team NIT event, submitted a bid that explained, among other things, what dates the Pit was available as well as single-game ticket revenue projections, which is where the NCAA-operated tournament then draws up an agreement with host schools.

Unlike the NIT of old or the WNIT that used potential ticket revenue as a factor in deciding who hosts games, the NIT now seeds the tournament’s top 16 teams — UNM is a No. 2 seed — and fills in the bottom 16 spots with more of a geographical approach.

Nonetheless, there is still a cut the NCAA gets from ticket revenue as it is an NCAA-run event.

UNM submitted a single-game ticket revenue projections (roughly a $100,000 projection) and game operating expense projection (roughly $40,000).

Per the agreement between the NCAA and UNM reviewed by the Journal, after game operation expenses, the NCAA and UNM would split ticket revenue 75% (NCAA) to 25% (UNM) up to that $100,000 projection and the NCAA would keep ticket revenue beyond that. There is a possibility for a 15% honorarium payment from the NCAA as well, after that initial $100,000 in ticket revenue.

UNM gets to “retain revenues from all concessions sold during the tournament games … with the exception of (NIT) merchandise” and the school keeps all parking revenue.

In total, UNM will have the game paid for, a small cut of ticket revenue and all concessions and parking revenue.

More importantly for Pitino and the basketball team, which has nothing to do with all that contract talk, they get to keep playing.

“We’re just glad to keep playing basketball,” said Lobo junior guard Jamal Mashburn, Jr. “I mean, especially to get a home game in the Pit this Wednesday will be pretty good for us. (And) just to continue to improve ourselves and get better for … next year.”

The Lobos last played in the NIT in 2011 and have an all-time record in the event of 18-20.

Tickets for Wednesday’s game are on sale online at GoLobos.com/tickets and season ticket holders have until 10 a.m. Wednesday to claim their seats before those seats are made available for all fans.

A win Wednesday would mean UNM would host a second round game in the Pit on Sunday against the winner of the Colorado vs. Seton Hall game, which is being played Tuesday night in Boulder, Colorado.

Home » Sports » What went into — and what will come of — UNM basketball’s NIT berth

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