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NIT Final: Stanford vs. Minnesota - 10 Things to Know

Andrew Zimmermann will obviously go out in style, but will the bearded wonder go out with a win?
Andrew Zimmermann will obviously go out in style, but will the bearded wonder go out with a win?

Here are 10 notes to get you ready for tonight's NIT Championship:

  • Stanford is 0-4 all-time against Minnesota, with their last meeting taking place in 1975. The Golden Gophers and Cardinal could've met in the second round of the 1989 NCAA Tournament, but No. 3 seed Stanford lost to No. 14 seed Siena in the first round.
  • The Golden Gophers are 2-0 against Pac-12 teams this season. Minnesota defeated USC, 55-40, on Dec. 3 and slipped past Washington in Tuesday's other semifinal.
  • Johnny Dawkins was interested in Minnesota freshman guard Andre Hollins, who has scored 44 points in the Golden Gophers' last two victories. The Chasson Randle-Hollins matchup will be fun to watch.
  • If this game comes down to free throws, and man do I hope it doesn't, the Cardinal should avoid sending Hollins to the line. He's shooting 92% (83-of-90) from the charity stripe.
  • Tubby Smith, who is 15-4 all-time against the Pac-12, can become the 10th coach to win both an NCAA and NIT title.
  • Smith is 1-0 against Stanford. His Kentucky squad knocked off Mike Montgomery and the Cardinal in the 1998 Final Four.
  • Rodney Williams, Minnesota's leading scorer (12.2 ppg), has averaged 21 points in four NIT games.
  • Stanford's 25 wins are the most of any Pac-12 team this season. So, yeah!
  • The Cardinal is 19-1 when scoring at least 70 points this season. The Golden Gophers have allowed their opponent to score at least 70 points in only nine games this season. Minnesota is 4-5 in those games.
  • According to this release, Stanford players watch a montage of Ray Lewis highlights as part of their pregame preparation. Will the real Ray Lewis be back in the locker room for an encore performance?