Tag:NIT Preview
Posted on: March 18, 2008 7:58 pm
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NIT Preview: Syracuse Region

I do not have the time to analyze each and every game, so I just predicted the score of each game.

First round

(8) Robert Morris (26-7) at (1) Syracuse (19-13)
Tuesday, March 18, 8 P.M. (Syracuse, NY)
ESPNU

Prediction: Syracuse 84, Robert Morris 71

(5) Maryland (18-14) at (4) Minnesota (20-13)
Tuesday, March 18, 9:30 P.M. (Minneapolis, MN)
ESPN/ESPN360.com

Prediction: Maryland 76, Minnesota 69

(6) Akron (23-10) at (3) Florida State (19-14)
Tuesday, March 18, 9 P.M. (Tallahassee, FL)
ESPN Classic

Prediction:
Florida State 74, Akron 72

(7) Stephen F. Austin (22-5) at (2) Massachusetts (21-10)
Tuesday, March 18, 6 P.M. (Amherst, MA)
ESPNU

Prediction: Massachusetts 87, Stephen F. Austin 68
Category: NCAAB
Tags: NIT Preview
 
Posted on: March 18, 2008 7:38 pm
Edited on: March 18, 2008 7:59 pm
 

NIT Preview: Arizona State Region

First round
(8) Alabama State (17-10) at (1) Arizona State (19-12)
Tuesday, March 18, 11 P.M. (Tempe, AZ)
ESPN/ESPN360.com

Preview:

Out of all of the NCAA Tournament snubs, Arizona State might have had the best resume. They had 5 wins against the top 50, but they still did not get in. The NIT might be better for this very young team, who started 3 freshmen, a sophomore, and a junior on a consistent basis. Alabama State got in by winning the SWAC regular season title. Alabama State was the best team in their conference during the regular season, but slipped up in the conference tournament. At least they get to play another game...

Players to watch:

Jeff Pendergraph (Arizona State)

Pendergraph is the leader of this team. He is the only junior or senior that starts for the Sun Devils, and he is very effective. He averages 12.5 points per game and 6.5 rebounds per game. He is also very good from the field (59.7%) and a surprisingly decent free throw shooter (78.6%). Shot blocking is another part of his game. If he can stay out of foul trouble, and Pendergraph has a good game, ASU should win this game easily.

Brandon Brooks (Alabama State)

Brooks is not known for his scoring ability, but he is a very good playmaker. He averages more than 6 assists per game compared to only 2.4 turnovers per game. He can knock down the 3-point shot, but he is more of a playmaker. If he makes pinpoint passes to set up good looks, this game can be closer than people think.

Prediction:

Arizona State 77, Alabama State 58

(5) Oklahoma State (16-15) at (4) Southern Illinois (17-14)
Tuesday, March 18, 9 P.M. (Carbondale, IL)
ESPN2/ESPN360.com

Preview:


Both of these teams are much better than their records show. Oklahoma State started off the year very poorly at 10-12, but recovered enough to make a postseason tournament. Southern Illinois started out the season ranked in the top 25, but they faced a brutal non-conference schedule, and were unable to notch a few big wins. They made a late run in the regular season, but lost in the first round of the MVC Tournament to end any chances of making the NCAAs. The NIT is the next best option, and that's where these teams will meet up.

Players to watch:

Randal Falker (Southern Illinois)

Falker has had a very disappointing season after a very good junior season. He is still putting up solid numbers (12.7 points per game and 6.9 rebounds per game), but they aren't what people thought they would be. Falker is a key to the Saluki's success, and when he is on, Southern Illinois wins games.

Byron Eaton (Oklahoma State)

Eaton is a very balanced player who can score, rebound, and pass the ball. Even though his stats are not mind-blowing, they show that he is a good all-around player that is capable of doing a little bit of everything. He can be the difference between a win or a loss for Oklahoma State.

Prediction:

Southern Illinois 69, Oklahoma State 65

(6) Rhode Island (21-11) at (3) Creighton (20-10)
Tuesday, March 18, 10 P.M. (Omaha, NE)
ESPNU

Preview:

Rhode Island started off the year 14-1, but they lost 7 of their final 8 games to miss the NCAA Tournament. They are a good team, but they struggled in conference play. Creighton is consistently near the top of the Missouri Valley, and it was no different this year. Even though neither of these teams made the NCAA Tournament, both are very good teams that can make a run in the NIT.

Players to watch:

Dane Watts (Creighton)

Watts is second on the team in scoring and leads the team in rebounding. He is also a good shooter, and could knock down a few threes. Watts could be a major factor in the game tonight since Creighton only has one other player averaging more than 10 points per game.

Jimmy Baron (Rhode Island)

Although Baron is not the leading scorer on the Rams, Rhode Island struggles when Baron struggles. In Rhode Island's losses in February, Baron was 8-31 from behind the arc, which is not good. He shoots just under 41% on the year, and he is a very good free throw shooter. If Baron can make some shots, that will take some of the pressure off of leading scorer Will Daniels.

Prediction:

Rhode Island 79, Creighton 74

(7) San Diego State (19-12) at (2) Florida (21-11)
Wednesday, March 19, 9 P.M. (Gainesville, FL)
ESPN2/ESPN360.com
Category: NCAAB
Tags: NIT Preview
 
Posted on: March 18, 2008 6:34 pm
 

NIT Preview: Virginia Tech Region

First round

(8) Morgan State (21-10) at (1) Virginia Tech (19-13)
Wednesday, March 19, 7 P.M. (Blacksburg, VA)
ESPN Classic

Preview:


Virginia Tech is another team that people felt got robbed of an NCAA Tournament bid. They had a fine season, but they will just have to settle for the NIT. They can be inconsistent at times, but when they are on, the Hokies are hard to beat. Morgan State got into the NIT by winning the MEAC regular season title. They lost to Mount St. Mary's in the semifinals of the MEAC Tournament.

Players to watch:


Deron Washington (Virginia Tech)

Deron Washington is one of the most exciting players to watch in all of college basketball. For those of you who have never seen a dunk from him, check out this link. He is also a pretty good player. He is second on the team in points per game and rebounds per game, and he is a player that both the opposition and the fans have to keep an eye (or two) on.

Boubacar Coly (Morgan State)

What a name for a pretty good player. He averages nearly a double-double with 9.6 points per game and 11.1 rebounds per game. He is also a very good shot blocker, getting 2.6 per game. Coly can be a matchup problem for the Hokies, who do not have anyone taller than 6'9.

Prediction:

Virginia Tech 66, Morgan State 54
(5) UAB (22-10) at (4) VCU (24-7)
Wednesday, March 19, 7 P.M. (Richmond, VA)
ESPN2/ESPN360.com

Both teams were in the discussion for an NCAA Tournament at-large bid, but neither got in. Virginia Commonwealth got into the dance last year and shocked the nation by beating Duke. UAB had a disappointing season last year, but bounced back this year with another 20-win season. The Blazers suffered a huge loss early in the season when Paul Delaney III was lost for the season.

Players to watch:

Eric Maynor (VCU)

Maynor is one of the best clutch players in the nation. He was the hero in last year's NCAA Tournament game against Duke when VCU pulled the upset (I picked them last year to beat Duke). Maynor is a pure point guard who is a very good decision maker. He averages nearly 18 points per game and over 5 assists per game. If Maynor makes good decisions with the ball, and takes good shots, VCU can be very dangerous.

Robert Vaden (UAB)

Vaden has really turned it on late in the season, but his efforts were not good enough to lift UAB into the NCAA Tournament. He has scored double-digits in all but one game this year. He has also put up 25 or more points in a game 11 times, including 41 against UTEP in late February. Vaden is a very dangerous 3-point shooter as well; he made 5 or more threes 14 times this year. If he can find his stroke from beyond the arc, UAB has a chance to win this game.

Prediction: VCU 83, UAB 78
(6) Charlotte (20-13) at (3) Nebraska (19-12)
Wednesday, March 19, 9 P.M. (Lincoln, NE)
ESPN Classic

Preview:

Both teams had their ups and downs this season, and both have been very inconsistent. Charlotte beat Clemson this year, but lost to Hofstra and Monmouth earlier in the year. Nebraska beat Oregon and Arizona State, but was unable to beat Colorado. Nebraska is capable of being very good at times, and so is Charlotte. Let's hope the best of both teams come out when they meet tomorrow.

Players to watch:

Aleks Maric (Nebraska)

This 6'11 senior caused problems for both Arizona State and Oregon earlier in the year. He averages 15.9 points per game and 10.2 rebounds per game, with rebounding being in the top 20 nationally. Maric is also capable of blocking shots when he needs to. He can cause a matchup problem for any team because of his size, and that can't be good for Charlotte.

Leemire Goldwire (Charlotte)

Goldwire is one of the most free shooters in the nation. He leads the nation in 3-pointers attempted, and he is right up there in field goal attempts. He is good at making three pointers, where most of his points come from. If Goldwire can be consistent with his long range jump shot, Charlotte will be in decent position to win the game.

Prediction:

Charlotte 75, Nebraska 67

(7) UC-Santa Barbara (22-8) at (2) Mississippi (21-10)
Wednesday, March 19, 8 P.M. (Oxford, MS)
ESPNU

Preview:

Mississippi got off to a very fast start. They went undefeated in non-conference play. After that, it all went downhill from there. The Rebels lost their first SEC game by 2 at Tennessee, and struggled to a 7-9 conference record and a first round exit in the SEC Tournament. UC-Santa Barbara got here by winning the Big West regular season title. They beat UNLV in the regular season, which shows how good this team can actually be.

Players to watch:

Dwayne Curtis (Mississippi)

Curtis is always a threat to get a double-double every time he steps onto the court. He averaged 15.1 points per game and 9.3 rebounds per game during the regular season. He is also among the nation's best with a field goal percentage of just under 65%. He is not very big, and he isn't a good shot blocker, so the opposition might take advantage of him in that regard.

Alex Harris (UC-Santa Barbara)

Harris is the team's leading scorer with an average just above 20 a game. He is capable of hitting the long range shot on a consistent basis. If he makes a few threes and doesn't force up bad shots, the Gauchos should be able to stay close, if not win.

Prediction:

Mississippi 80, UC-Santa Barbara 68
Category: NCAAB
Tags: NIT Preview
 
Posted on: March 18, 2008 4:54 pm
Edited on: March 18, 2008 6:37 pm
 

NIT Preview: Ohio State Region

First round

(8) UNC-Asheville (19-9) at (1) Ohio State (19-13)
Tuesday, March 18, 7 P.M. (Columbus, OH)
ESPN2/ESPN360.com

Preview:

Ohio State had a good season, but they were one of the first teams left out of the NCAA Tournament. They are a good team up front with Othello Hunter and Kosta Koufos. They also have senior guard Jamar Butler, who is a very good three point shooter. The Buckeyes closed the regular season with wins over two ranked teams. UNC-Asheville won an automatic bid by winning the regular season conference title in the Big South. They have the tallest player in the nation in Kenny George. he is a very good option inside, but he often can only play 20-25 minutes per game. If he plays well, Asheville has a chance. They have 5 players that average more than 10 points per game.

Players to watch:

Kosta Koufos (Ohio State)

Koufos is often overlooked in a freshmen class that is loaded with talent. Koufos is second on the team in scoring, and he leads the team in rebounding. He has the potential to score 20 in a game, but he has other guys around him that can also score. He will have a hard time scoring tonight if Kenny George is constantly in his way.

Kenny George (UNC-Asheville)

George is the tallest player in the nation at 7'6, and he has a chance to impress on the national stage for those who have not seen him. He leads the nation in field goal percentage, and he is in the top 10 nationally in blocked shots. Since there is no defensive three second rule in college basketball, he stands in the paint on every defensive possession. If the Bulldogs can get 25 good minutes out of him, they have a chance.

Prediction:


Ohio State 68, UNC-Asheville 59

(5) New Mexico (24-8) at (4) California (16-15)
Wednesday, March 19, 11 P.M. (Berkley, CA)
ESPN2/ESPN360.com

Preview:

California really disappointed people this year. They have loads of talent on offense, but they were not able to defend very well. The Bears looked like they had a chance at making the NCAA Tournament, but a 2-8 record down the stretch ultimately killed their chances. Cal is second in the nation in free throw percentage, so if they are winning late, the Bears will be able to put the game away from the line. New Mexico had a good season with 24 wins, but they did not make the field due to their weak schedule. They are the complete opposite of Cal right now as they have won 8 of their last 10. New Mexico can compete with teams, as shown with their 6 wins against the top 100, but they will have to win this one on the road.

Players to watch:

Ryan Anderson (California)

Ryan Anderson is a very good player, and he is probably one of the most underrated players in the nation because of the team he plays on. He led the Pac-10 in scoring with 21.3 points per game. He can also rebound the ball, averaging just over 10 per game. Anderson is also a good three point shooter- he made over 40% of his three point attempts this year. His defense is a problem though.

J.R. Giddens (New Mexico)

Giddens is a player that can play either guard or forward. He led the Lobos in both scoring and rebounding on the season. Giddens has also shown that he can pass the ball by averaging 3 assists per game. Free throw shooting is a major problem for him, and his poor shooting from the stripe could be a deciding factor in the game.

Prediction:

California 87, New Mexico 72

(6) Cleveland State (19-12) at (3) Dayton (21-10)
Wednesday, March 19, 6 P.M. (Dayton, OH)
ESPNU

Preview:

Dayton is one of those teams that felt that they should be in the NCAA Tournament. They were not selected, and as a result play in the NIT. They had a very good season, but they lost freshman Chris Wright, and were unable to return to the form they had at the beginning of the season. They beat Louisville and Pittsburgh earlier in the year, but that was with Wright in the lineup. Cleveland State started off the year well just like Dayton. Cleveland State started off 7-0 in Horizon League play. But then, teams caught on to head coach Brian Waters' defensive scheme, and the Vikings started losing. They did hand Butler one of their 3 losses on the year though.

Players to watch:

Brian Roberts (Dayton)

Brian Roberts has had to take control of this team once Chris Wright went down, and he has done a good job. He leads the Flyers with over 18 points per game. He is one of the best pure shooters in the nation both from the line and from beyond the arc. He shoots nearly 45% from 3, which ranks near the top in the nation. He can also pass the ball- he leads the team in assists. Dayton will have to rely heavily on him if they expect to make a run in the NIT.

J'Nathan Bullock (Cleveland State)

Bullock leads the Vikings in both scoring and rebounding. He is crucial part to their success this year, and he has to continue what he has been doing this year if Cleveland State wants to go far. He has had 5 double-doubles so far, and he lit up Wisconsin-Green bay for 39 points earlier in the year.

Prediction:

Dayton 74, Cleveland State 66

(7) Utah State (23-10) at (2) Illinois State (23-9)
Wednesday, March 19, 10 P.M. (Normal, IL)
ESPNU

Preview:

Picked to finish near the bottom by the media before the season, Illinois State surprised many people with their great season. They finished second in the Missouri Valley in both the regular season and the postseason tournament, but they were left out of the NCAA Tournament. Utah State was one of the best teams in a very disappointing WAC this year. They had 23 wins this year, but failed to make the NCAA Tournament because of the weakness of the conference this year.

Players to watch:

Anthony Slack (Illinois State)

Slack is the best inside scorer and best rebounder on the team. He is second on the team in scoring with just under 10 per game. His rebounding leads the team at 6.9 per game. Slack is third in the nation in field goal percentage as well. If he is able to stay out of foul trouble and be effective, Illinois State is in good position to win.

Jaycee Carroll (Utah State)

Jaycee Carroll is one of the best shooters in the nation. He is in the top 15 in the nation in both points per game and 3-pointers made. He is also 3rd in the nation in 3-point shooting percentage at just over 50%. If Carroll gets hot, look out because he is one of the best at what he does.

Prediction:

Illinois State 67, Utah State 63
Category: NCAAB
Tags: NIT Preview
 
 
 
 
 
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