College Basketball Nation: NIT


 
NEW YORK -- Quick thoughts on Baylor's 74-54 victory over Baylor in Thursday's NIT title game at Madison Square Garden:

What it means: Baylor is your 2013 NIT champion -- the first Big 12 team ever to win this tournament.

Baylor (23-14) had a disappointing regular season. The Bears were ranked No. 19 in the country in the preseason, coming off a berth in the NCAA tournament's Elite Eight a year ago. They didn't even make the Big Dance this time around but finished the season on a high note.

Iowa (25-13) was on the bubble on Selection Sunday and didn't make the NCAA cut, but collected four wins and some valuable experience the past couple of weeks.

The turning point: After Iowa's Roy Devyn Marble scored the first bucket of the game, Baylor scored nine consecutive points and led the rest of the first half. It took the Bears' leading scorer, Pierre Jackson, almost 15 minutes to collect his first point. But Baylor still led 27-22 at intermission. The Hawkeyes shot just 7-for-28 (25 percent) in the first half and committed eight turnovers.

Iowa cut the deficit to one early in the second half, 28-27, thanks to five quick points by Eric May. But Baylor answered with seven points in a row to reassert control, and soon turned the game into a rout. The Bears pushed the lead past 20 for the first time on a Cory Jefferson two-hand slam with 7:04 remaining. The rest was garbage time.

Star watch: Jackson scored just four points in the first half, shooting 1-for-6. The second half was a different story. The senior finished with 17 points and 10 assists, and was named the tournament's most outstanding player. Jefferson scored a game-high 23 points, and Isaiah Austin added 15.

Mike Gesell scored a team-high 13 points off the bench for Iowa, while Aaron White chipped in 12. Marble finished with just six points.

Number crunch: It just wasn't Iowa's night offensively. The Hawkeyes missed open shots from the perimeter, and several chippies around the rim -- they were clearly bothered by the presence of the 7-foot-1 Austin (five blocked shots) in the paint. For the game, Iowa shot 18-for-69 from the field (26.4 percent), including 5-for-24 from beyond the arc (20.8), while Baylor shot 26-for-48 (54.2 percent).

What's next: That's the final college basketball game of the season at Madison Square Garden. Enjoy the Final Four, and we'll see you next year.

3-point shot: Xavier's NIT snub

March, 18, 2013
3/18/13
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1.The NIT selection committee snubbed Xavier despite quality the Musketeers' wins over Temple, Butler, La Salle, Memphis and Saint Louis. Xavier coach Chris Mack and outgoing athletic director Mike Bobinski were expecting to get an NIT bid. When one didn’t come Sunday night they both agreed not to pursue the CBI. So, Xavier’s season is over and likely its longtime history in the A-10 has come to a close as well. The Musketeers are expected to be announced, according to multiple sources, with Butler and Creighton, as a member of the new Big East later this week.

2. NIT selection committee chair C.M. Newton said the toughest decision among teams not invited to the NIT was Air Force. He said the injury to Michael Lyons, which occurred during the Mountain West Conference tournament, was a factor in leaving the Falcons out. That’s a shame. Air Force had a terrific season, upsetting league champ New Mexico on the final regular season conference game as well as beating UNLV, San Diego State and Boise State at home. The Falcons weren’t picked to go to the CBI, either. Newton said Wyoming, Murray State, Arkansas, LSU, Richmond and UTEP were all considered as well, but road losses and 10 automatic qualifiers (limiting the at-large pool to 22) were factors in selecting the field.

3. The CBI has some interesting storylines. Texas and Myck Kabongo will continue the season, playing at Houston. Richmond, fresh off that disastrous meltdown to Charlotte in the A-10 quarterfinals, plays at Bryant, which is in its first year of being eligible for the postseason in Division I. Lehigh, which still didn’t have C.J. McCollum healthy for the Patriot League tournament, is at Wyoming, one of the four final unbeaten teams in January. The other games are George Mason at College of Charleston; Vermont at Santa Clara; Tulsa at Wright State; North Dakota State at Western Michigan and Western Illinois at Purdue.
1. The NIT contract with Madison Square Garden is up this year. The NIT Season Tip-Off could live with being in Indianapolis (where the NCAA is headquartered) if it couldn’t be at MSG. But the postseason NIT really should be at the Final Four site if it can’t be in New York. The perfect scenario to save the event, if an MSG deal falls through, would be to play the games at the Final Four in an adjacent college building (next year at Georgia Tech) on the Wednesday and Thursday nights at the Final Four. You can clear out the fans when most arrive by Friday morning.

2. Murray State coach Steve Prohm said he is desperately seeking a tournament for next season and is attempting to get into the Charleston Classic. He said he’s willing to open up against a high-major on the road or in the first week, but needs a home-and-home series with the home game being next year. This is the price a school like Murray pays for having an outstanding season and returning an all-American candidate in Isaiah Canaan.

3. Xavier coach Chris Mack won’t say anything more about Mark Lyons. But the Musketeers did need to move on from this crew. They excelled to get to the Sweet 16 in Atlanta. But the time was now to sever the relationships from last season’s team. Xavier is too proud, too strong a program to be tainted by that one incident; having a fresh start with the main combatants gone allows for a new era.

Highlights: Stanford wins NIT

March, 29, 2012
3/29/12
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Chasson Randle and Aaron Bright each score 15 as the Cardinal cruised past Minnesota 75-51.

Video: Dayton wins NIT

April, 1, 2010
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Dayton defeats 2009 national champion North Carolina 79-68 in the 2010 NIT final.
  • The Michigan State fans at The Only Colors have a major beef with Big Ten referee Ed Hightower, who spent a solid 30 seconds yelling face-to-face with Tom Izzo after a questionable traveling call on Raymar Morgan Tuesday night. They probably have a point: If Izzo is being so unruly that you need to make a statement, a technical usually does the trick. Yelling face-to-face tends to waver more on the "look at me" side.
  • In any case, more relevant to last night's game is this TOC post from a few days ago, which dissects the reasons why Michigan State was ranked so high -- No. 5 in the coach's poll, for example -- and yet isn't particularly well-liked by the Pomeroys of the world.
  • While we're in Big Ten recap mode, let's throw it over to UMHoops' Dylan, who gives mournful voice to Michigan hoops fans the world over this morning: "The last month or so has been littered with games where Michigan reminds you how good they could have been. In this one, Michigan reminded us how bad they really are."
  • Big 12 Hoops takes a look at the conference's teams that have a shot at winning the national title. This post probably could have just been titled "Kansas." Instead it includes Missouri and Baylor and Oklahoma State and other obvious stretches. But hey, you gotta keep things lively, right?
  • Rider's Ryan Thompson is doing his best to make the MAAC more than a one-Siena league.
  • There's a legitimate chance both the UConn Huskies and the North Carolina Tar Heels will be playing in the NIT this season. After you take a deep breath and recover from that SHOCKING TRUTH, be reminded that while the average college basketball fan might not be pleased about this development, the NIT's organizers are, like, super-stoked, bro.
  • Mike Miller argues that Duke is still, by all measures, an elite program. Whether or not it's still fun to beat them is a different story.
  • One team in the Pomeroy top 20 that everyone might be sleeping on? Ohio State. Here's why.
  • Keep The Bench Warm plays around with the idea of a Big Ten expansion, and what that means for the future of the conference. Why, it means everything! Or nothing! Your specific freakout level is up to you.
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