In sports they say that a tie is like kissing your sister. I imagine that college basketball teams that make the NIT Tournament have a similar feeling. There are 32 college basketball teams that get to go to a dance but instead of going to prom with the cheerleader they’re headed to the Sadie Hawkins dance with the chick that sits by herself at lunch. It’s better than nothing right? So which of these 32 teams is going to make the best of opportunity.
NIT Tournament Washington Bracket
#1 Washington versus #8 Texas-Arlington
#4 Northwestern versus #5 Akron
#3 Oregon versus #6 LSU
#2 Dayton versus #7 Iowa
Three of these NIT Tournament match ups feature schools from big conferences versus schools from small conferences. Often in the NIT Tournament big conference schools that failed to make the NCAA Tournament are more complacent than the schools from small conferences. In these three match ups I like all three of the small conference schools Texas-Arlington, Akron and Dayton. In the other match up Oregon should be able to take care of the SEC’s LSU.
In the second round the small conference schools dominance will end when Oregon defeats Dayton. However, Texas-Arlington will knock off Oregon after taking care of Akron. Texas-Arlington is a perfect example of why the automatic bids for winning the conference tournament should be eliminated. The Mavericks were an exciting team that finished 21st in the country in points per game and 11th in rebounding and should not be playing in the NIT Tournament.
NIT Tournament Tennessee Bracket
#1 Tennessee versus #8 Savannah State
#4 Middle Tennessee versus #5 Marshall
#3 Marshall versus #6 Minnesota
#2 Miami (FL) versus #7 Valparaiso
Middle Tennessee is another one of the teams that should be in the NCAA Tournament. After a defeat over Marshall the top seed Tennessee will fall to Middle Tennessee. On the other side of the bracket La Salle and Minnesota is the weakest of the first round NIT Tournament games. Minnesota will overcome La Salle for the simple fact that they were tested with a more difficult schedule. Miami will similarly defeat Valparaiso for the same reason. In the finals of this bracket Miami (FL) defeats Middle Tennessee. The Hurricanes knocked off some impressive teams during their season but were probably left out of the NCAA Tournament due to the uncertainty of Durand Scott’s eligibility.
NIT Tournament Seton Hall Bracket
#1 Seton Hall versus #8 Stony Brook
#4 Mississippi State versus #5 UMass
#3 Drexel versus #6 Central Florida
#2 Saint Joseph’s versus #7 Northern Iowa
Missisippi State had wins over Texas A&M, Arizona and West Virginia. Their first two losses were to NIT Tournament-bound Akron and NCAA Tournament-bound West Virginia. Mississippi State struggled down the stretch but was better than Alabama who got in rather safely. Drexel won their conference during the regular season but lost their spot to Virginia Commonwealth. Drexel should have been in the tournament as an at-large instead of Iona. After wins over Massachusettes and Seton Hall, Mississippi State will play Drexel in the finals of this bracket after the Dragons defeat Central Florida and Northern Iowa. In the final game of this bracket Arnett Moultrie will be too much for Drexel to overcome.
NIT Tournament Arizona Bracket
#1 Arizona versus #8 Bucknell
#4 Oral Roberts versus #5 Nevada
#3 Stanford versus #6 Cleveland State
#2 Ole Miss versus #7 Illinois State
Arizona shouldn’t have much of a difficult time in the first round of the NIT Tournament against Bucknell. Their second round opponent will be Oral Roberts after a close game against Nevada. Arizona then lives up to their top seed billing by defeating Oral Roberts. In the other half of the bracket Stanford makes it an all Pac-12 final after beating Cleveland State in the first round and Ole Miss in the second round after the Rebels defeat Illinois State in the first round. Arizona had a better overall record and conference record and defeated the Cardinal in their only meeting of the season. There is no reason to think that this meeting won’t end the same way.
NIT Tournament Final Four
#8 Texas-Arlington versus #2 Miami (FL)
#4 Mississippi State versus #1 Arizona
Texas-Arlington continues to carry the flag for the small conferences in the NIT Tournament after a victory over the ACC’s Miami. Mississippi State and Arizona should be a great match up of two teams trying to prove they should have been in the NCAA Tournament but the SEC school comes out on top. Once again Moultrie is too much as Missisippi State defeats Texas-Arlington in the final and Moultrie wins the tournament MVP.
Who do you think will win the NIT Tournament? Leave me a message or Tweet your thoughts to #NITWINNER
NIT Tournament at NCAA.com
Lee Andrew Henderson has been writing for the Yahoo Contributor Network since 2006 and also writes a blog called Six Men, One Eagle.