NIT 2012 Final: Stanford's Big Win vs. Minnesota Should Be Credited to Ray Lewis

Eric BowmanFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 29: The Stanford Cardinals are seen holding the championship trophy after defeating the Minnesota Golden Golphers in the NIT men's basketball championship at Madison Square Garden on March 29, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Jason Szenes/Getty Images)
Jason Szenes/Getty Images

Prior to the Stanford Cardinal's semifinal match in the NIT, Ray Lewis gave a powerful speech to the basketball team. It had a lasting impression on the team, which is why he deserves some credit for Stanford's championship victory. 

The Cardinal crushed the Minnesota Golden Gophers 75-51 in the NIT finals Thursday night. 

Earlier in the day, the video of Lewis' speech to Stanford went viral. The camera work is a little shaky, but all you really need to do is listen if you haven't already. 

If that didn't pump you up then you may not have a pulse. I'm sure I'm not the only one that felt the urge to get up and do something great after watching that. 

Side note: Upon first watching, I went to the driving range later in the day, where I proceeded to be "pissed off for greatness." 

As the No. 6 seed, the Golden Gophers of Minnesota had a phenomenal run in the NIT, but they simply ran out of gas. Beyond that, they also had the unfortunate task of playing for a team that was fired up by one of the best NFL defenders in the game.

That speech given by Lewis isn't going to go away in the minds of the Stanford players after just one game. It stuck with them and helped motivate them for anything that came their way. 

Once the video went viral prior to Stanford playing for the NIT championship, it only made matters worse for Minnesota. 

Those Stanford players saw how everyone on the web reacted to Lewis' speech. It psyched them up for what would be their final game of the year, and the Cardinal weren't about to let the Golden Gophers stop them from being excellent. 

Led by freshman Chasson Randle, Stanford cruised past Minnesota to win the NIT, and in the process, Ray Lewis easily earned himself not only a big thank you, but also some future motivational speeches during the NFL offseason. 



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