Is the NIT or CBI in Rutgers' Future?

Rutgers is in position to earn a postseason berth if it wins a few more games. If invited, it seems like a no-brainer to head to the NIT. But what about the College Basketball Invitational? Rutgers coach Mike Rice spoke to about postseason scenarios, and whether he would take the Scarlet Knights to the CBI, if invited.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Rutgers' goal is to finish the regular season with a winning record, and if that happens Rutgers coach Mike Rice said the Scarlet Knights would accept a postseason invitation, regardless of the tournament That is, if the Scarlet Knights (13-12, 4-9 Big East) are invited.

"I wouldn't go to anything without a winning record," Rice said. "You don't deserve anything if you don't have a winning record. Unless I have a winning record, I wouldn't do it."

But Rice did say he would look beyond the NIT if Rutgers finishes above .500 and doesn't get into the 32-team field.

That means he would accept an invitation to the 16-team College Basketball Invitational, which is in its fourth year, if Rutgers has a winning record but is bypassed by the NIT.

"We wouldn't snub out nose at any postseason tournament," Rice said. "If we're fortunate enough to have a winning record, we would look at everything and all to continue our play."

However, for now it is just talk. The Scarlet Knights need a strong finish to ensure its first winning record since 2005-06.

They play at Syracuse today (4 p.m.), host Louisville and West Virginia next week, then travel to DePaul and Providence to end the regular season.

Winning three of those games would clinch a winning record, even if the Scarlet Knights are ousted in the first round of the Big East tournament. In that scenario, Rice said "it would be close" on whether they would get into the NIT.

If the Scarlet Knights go 2-3 in their final five games, they would have to win a pair of Big East tournament games to finish above .500.

The thought of postseason is a motivating factor for senior power forward Jonathan Mitchell, who began his college career by winning an NCAA Tournament title as a freshman at Florida.

"That's why we have to win as many games as possible, to try and finish .500 or better," Mitchell said. "I want to make the postseason in my last run. Hopefully, we can make a run and sneak into (the NIT)."

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