Virginia Tech coach Mike Young doesn't hold back about playing in the NIT

Not playing in the 32-team tournament was never an option for the Hokies or their veteran coach.
Richmond v Virginia Tech
Richmond v Virginia Tech / Ryan Hunt/GettyImages

When the NIT Tournament brackets were released Sunday night, some teams were missing from the 32-team field that just missed out on an NCAA Tournament berth. In fact, 17 teams opted out of accepting a bid to play more games, instead choosing to get a head start on planning for the 2024-25 season.

On Monday, the college basketball transfer portal opened and a couple hundred players already entered their names, including former Virginia Tech guard Rodney Rice. The Hokies former guard, who left the team in October, was expected to enter his name right away. 

Following his team's 74-58 victory over Richmond Tuesday night at Cassell Coliseum, Virginia Tech's Mike Young was asked why his team accepted a bid to the NIT instead of turning it down and the veteran coach gave a lengthy answer.

“Nothing went into it,’’ said Young. “Alright? I don’t begrudge your choice if you don’t choose to play, but I want to play, I want to coach. The worst day of my world is the day the season ends. If you’ve got an opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament or the NIT, sign me up, we’re on. You know, I assume, some of those guys that opted out are great friends. I haven’t had those conversations with them. I would never ask them, it’s none of my business. The transfer portal is a big deal. Alright? So that’s why people aren’t playing I guess, I don’t know, but gosh, we’re playing. Jeez, making a little point here.’’

ESPN analyst and former coach Tom Crean Sunday night gave his opinion on teams opting not to play in the NIT and he had a similar take. After being eliminated last week in the ACC Tournament by Florida State, Young said that his team would accept a bid if offered and they did. Now, they get to play at least one more game, this weekend at Ohio State, and Young couldn’t be more thrilled.

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