Jacobson, Panthers practicing for next step

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CEDAR FALLS — Following a one-game exit from the Missouri Valley Conference tournament, the Northern Iowa men’s basketball team has more to do than sit around and wait and see where it will be playing postseason basketball.

“We’ll take (Monday) and (today) off and get back into some stuff on Wednesday,” coach Ben Jacobson said Monday at his weekly news conference. “We spend a lot of time on fundamental things each and every day. I don’t think we’ll look at adding a bunch of stuff on either end of the floor. Just work on some of the things we’ve been doing and try to do them a little bit better.”

However, the main question surrounding these Panthers is where they will end up playing. TheNIT appears to be the best option.

Selections will be made Sunday, after the NCAA announces its field.

“We’ll be playing somewhere next week,” Jacobson said. “My feeling is that we have a great opportunity and have done a lot of things that would put us in the NIT field. That’s where our focus will be.

“I’m looking forward to Sunday and hope that comes through for us.”

According to ESPN.com, the Panthers have an RPI of 84 while playing the eighth toughest non-conference schedule in the country.

“It isn’t strictly by the RPI,” Jacobson said of the NIT criteria. “There were teams last year that were well above 85. I think a lot of it is how you’re playing right now and what kind of schedule you’ve played.What league you play in and where you finish, I think that has something to do with it.

“A lot of those things work in our favor.”

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