Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Commencing the NIT

Later, the NIT will be kicking off at the different campus sites, with its Final Four in a sort of perpetuity at Madison Square Garden. Unlike the NCAAs, only 32 teams are invited, all of them sort of snubbed by the 65 teams (34 at-larges, 30 conference tournament champions and the Ivy League regular season champ). In addition, all regular season conference champs are automatically in the 32-man group, if they missed out on the Big Dance.

So what is the NIT field like this year?

Illini Region: 1-Illinois vs 8-Stony Brook (Interesting twist as Bruce Weber's crew will be @ Stony Brook due to a scheduling snafu.) Winner of that game faces the 4-5 matchup of Kent State and Tulsa. Other half of that region gets 2-Cincinnati against 7-Weber State and Dayton versus Illinois State for the 3-6.

Sun Devil Region: 1-Arizona State will be facing 8-Jacksonville, with the winner facing the winner of Seton Hall and Texas Tech. On the other hand, Memphis versus St. John's and Ole Miss versus Troy complete this region.

Hokie Region: Top-seeded Virginia Tech gets to tango with Quinnipiac. The winner goes on to face the winner of Connecticut and Northeastern (Fun Fact: UConn coach Jim Calhoun was at Northeastern before being hired to coach the Huskies). 2-Rhode Island tangles with Northwestern, with the winner getting the winner of Wichita State-Nevada.

Bulldog Region: Mississippi State will be venting out its 0.1 sec away frustrations on Jackson State, while awaiting the winner of the North Carolina-William & Mary scrap. South Florida gets to face North Carolina State while UAB faces Coastal Carolina.

Personal prediction. Teams in MSG will be Cincy vs Memphis and Virginia Tech vs Mississippi State. Final will be Cincy vs Va Tech, with Lance Stephenson being on the winning end after their last visit to MSG ended abruptly via De'Sean Butler.

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