Thursday, March 17, 2022

NIT First Round Recap

I was hoping to do this earlier in the week, but the first round of the NIT is in the books. Let’s take a look back at what happened. 

Game of the Round: 

The 67-63 double-overtime thriller between North Texas and Texas State had everything you could want from a basketball game (except maybe more points). As the win probability graph shows (thanks to ncaahoopR) the Bobcats had a serious chance to win at the end of the first extra session, but couldn’t hold on.

Upset of the Round: 

There weren’t any humongous upsets, but St. Bonaventure took one of the longest trips of the first round all the way out to Colorado and came home to upstate New York with a 76-68 victory. Northern Iowa didn’t have to as far to get to Saint Louis, but the Panthers also scored an impressive upset. 

Strange News of the Round:

Xavier announced that Travis Steele would not be returning after beating Cleveland St. by four points in the first round. The Musketeers are still playing in the NIT, but assistant Jonas Hayes will coach against Florida.

Player of the First Round: 

Tosan Evbuomwan had a great game for Princeton despite the Tigers suffering a disappointing loss against VCU. The unanimous Ivy League Player of the Year nearly had a triple-double with 22 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. He also added two steals but did end up fouling out and committee five turnovers. Still, it was an impressive performance from the junior from Newcastle, England. (If you haven’t read this story about Evbuomwan, I’d highly recommend it.)

How are my predictions doing?

My Madison Square Garden four is still intact, which is about all you can hope for at this point. I was surprised that Toledo played so poorly given the chance to play at home against Dayton.

What are you looking forward to in Rd. 2?
  • Will the winner of Virginia-North Texas crack 60? KenPom has the Mean Green winning 58-53. 
  • What big upset will change the round? I'm personally hoping Washington St. can win at SMU.

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