The Washington Post

Ray Lewis helps spark Stanford into NIT final with pregame speech

Chasson Randle (left) and Stanford are fired up for Thursday’s NIT championship matchup with Minnesota. (Frank Franklin II/AP)

The league finished ninth in RPI — behind the Mountain West, Atlantic 10 and Missouri Valley — and sent only two teams to the NCAA Tournament. Regular season conference champion Washington was not one of them.

But believe it or not, the Pac-12 is still alive in postseason play, thanks to Stanford’s spirited run to the NIT final. The Cardinal face Minnesota on Thursday night in Madison Square Garden.

So how is a team that finished seventh in its own conference and closed the season with eight losses in its final 14 games still playing?

They’re “pissed off for greatness.”

Why? Because Ray Lewis told them to be.

The fiery Baltimore Ravens linebacker gave the Cardinal a pregame pep talk before their semifinal matchup with Massachusetts on Tuesday — a game Stanford went on to win 74-64.

Here’s the pregame speech that got them going...

“I’m pissed off for greatness,” Lewis said. “Because if you ain’t pissed off for greatness, that means you’re OK with being mediocre.”

Some might argue mediocre teams make up most of the NIT field. But an NIT championship would leave a young Stanford team feeling anything but mediocre as they head into the 2012-13 season.

(H/T The Dagger)

Follow us: @MattBrooksWP   | @CindyBoren


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Matt Brooks is the high school sports editor for The Washington Post. He's an Arlington native and longtime District resident and was previously a high school sports reporter, editor for several blogs and Early Lead contributor with The Post.

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