The NIT takes a backseat to the NCAA Tournament each March, but we do have an interesting set of teams left in the field with Texas, TCU, Wichita State and Lipscomb. The NIT Final Four kicks off on Tuesday, April 2nd at MSG. Both games are currently sitting at a one point spread so we’ll likely have some drama at the Garden.
No. 6 Wichita State Shockers + 1 vs. No. 5 Lipscomb Bison
The Shockers defeated three higher seeded teams to make it to the NIT Semifinals, and they’ve won nine out of their last ten games with their only loss coming to conference rival Cincinnati. Markis McDuffie leads Wichita State with over 18 points per game.
The Bison are led by Garrison Mathews who averages over 20 points per game. Lipscomb lost in the Atlantic Sun Conference Final to Liberty which crushed their NCAA Tournament dreams.
If Lipscomb can push the pace and turn this game into a track meet they’ll have a good chance to pull out the victory. The Shockers want to control the tempo and keep this game in the 60s. I believe it’s much easier to slow a game down then speed it up which is why I favor Wichita State. I think Gregg Marshall and the Shockers get it done.
Take Wichita State + 1
No. 1 TCU Horned Frogs – 1 vs. No. 2 Texas Longhorns
This is the third meeting this season between these BIG 12 conference foes. TCU won both previous matchups and just defeated the Creighton Blue Jays by 13 points to advance to NYC. They’re led by guard Desmond Bane and forward Kouat Noi who both average over 14 a game.
The Longhorns had an easy time with Colorado to set up a third meeting with the Horned Frogs. Kerwin Roach and Dylan Osetkowski led Texas in scoring, but they will be without potential first-round pick Jaxson Hayes, who is out with a knee injury.
Both teams feel they were snubbed by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee, but I think TCU had a much stronger case. I’ve followed Jamie Dixon since his Big East days at Pitt and I think he is a great coach. He’s done a tremendous job making TCU Basketball relevant.
On the other side, Texas coach Shaka Smart has underperformed in his time at Austin and could be on the hot seat. This will be a physical basketball game between two teams that know each other well. I favor TCU in the matchup mainly due to their rebounding advantage. The loss of Jaxson Hayes is really going to hurt Texas in the paint. He is a solid rebounder and an elite rim protector. It is difficult to beat a team three times in one season, but I’m still riding with TCU.
The Horned Frogs -1 is the play