Sunday, March 20, 2022

NIT Second Round Recap

Game of the Round:

There were two overtime games in the second round. Vanderbilt took out Dayton, 70-68, thanks to a Liam Robbins layup with 39 seconds remaining in overtime. Scotty Pippen Jr. scored 32 points, the only Commodore in double figures. After two home victories, Vanderbilt now heads to Xavier for the quarterfinals.

In the other overtime game, Virginia and North Texas, the two slowest teams in the country, combined to score 30 points in the extra session. The Cavaliers eventually pulled out the victory, 71-69. Reece Beekman had 13 points, nine assists, and seven rebounds for UVA. Mardrez McBride scored 21 points in the loss.

Upset of the Round:

The first No. 1 seeds of the NIT fell in the second round as Dayton (see above), Oklahoma, and SMU all lost. Washington St. went to SMU and took out the Mustangs 75-63 after leading by 19 at halftime. The Cougars are playing with a full complement of healthy players now and Kyle Smith appears to be hitting all the right buttons. WSU will head on the road again to BYU for the quarterfinals. St. Bonaventure continued its time as NIT vagabonds with a victory at Oklahoma. It appears that Bonnies' odyssey will lead them back in Olean, NY where they'll host Virginia in matchup of "unseeded" (but really No. 5 and No. 6 seed) teams. [UPDATE (3/21/2022): Virginia will be hosting St. Bonaventure in the quarterfinals, so the Bonnies will continue NIT odyssey.]

Strange News of the First Round:

Both Xavier and Florida hired coaches before they played a second round game at the Cintas Center on Sunday afternoon. The Musketeers, who hired back Sean Miller, ended up winning 72-56, over the Gators, who hired former San Francisco coach Todd Golden.

Oklahoma had to work hard to keep its home game against St. Bonaventure. The Sooners needed to squeeze the game in despite the women’s team (which takes on Notre Dame tomorrow) hosting an NCAA Tournament pod in Norman, OK this weekend. Too bad it didn't end up mattering.

Player of the Second Round:

Pippen Jr. deserves the honors this round. The Vanderbilt junior star, who ranks 10th nationally in usage rate and first in fouls drawn, showed off both skills in the win over Dayton. He shot 9-24 from the field and 11-13 from the free throw line, while using 38% of Vanderbilt’s possessions, on his way to those 32 points.

How are my predictions doing?

It's over. I had Oklahoma winning the whole thing and the St. Bonaventure victory blew up my bracket. I have gotten 100% of the games in the SMU region correct. I also had Texas A&M-Wake Forest in the quarterfinals. But the entire left side of the bracket is now finished.

What are you looking forward to in the Quarterfinals?
  • Can Kyle Smith keep Washington State rolling at BYU?
  • Will Xavier continue to slay SEC teams?
  • Does Buzz Williams (Texas A&M) or Steve Forbes (Wake Forest) make it to MSG?
  • How does St. Bonaventure do playing at home?
The quarterfinal games are on Tuesday and Wednesday evening.

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