NIT 2012 Bracket: Best Odds for Top Remaining Teams

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 19, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 08:  Tony Wroten #14 of the Washington Huskies reacts after a put-back dunk in the second half against the Oregon State Beavers during the quarterfinals of the 2012 Pacific Life Pac-12 basketball tournament at Staples Center on March 8, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Lost in all of the hoopla surrounding the NCAA Tournament is always the NIT, which is left to all those who failed to make the Big Dance.

The second round wraps up tonight.

There are still some very good teams left in the tournament.

Here are four teams from each region with the best chance to bring home the NIT title.



Washington Huskies

Washington is already through to the quarterfinal stage, where they match up with the Oregon Ducks.

It's a very intriguing game as the teams are very familiar with themselves, playing in the Pac-12.

They split their season series with each team winning at home by double digits. Washington won, 76-60, on December 31st and Oregon dominated the most recent game on February 9th, winning by a score of 82-57.

Perhaps what's most working to the Huskies' benefit is the fact that the NIT game will be played at Washington's Edmundson Pavilion.

With Terrence Ross and Tony Wroten leading the way, the Huskies are going to blaze a path to Madison Square Garden.



Tennessee Volunteers

Cuonzo Martin has had a fairly good season considering the mess that Bruce Pearl left.

The Volunteers carry a 19-14 record going into their game tonight with Middle Tennessee. It should be an easy win for them.

They would then match up with either Minnesota or Miami in the quarterfinals.

Tennessee hasn't performed great against teams in the RPI top 75 (5-9), but it's a better record than either the Hurricanes (2-11) or Golden Gophers (4-10).

Much like Washington, they also have a home-court advantage. They finished with a 14-3 record at Thompson-Boling Arena.



Drexel Dragons

If Drexel is able to advance to MSG, they will have had a fairly easy road. They have so far avoided No. 2 Saint Joseph's and No. 1 Seton Hall.

This has allowed the Dragons to play at home, where they haven't lost a game all season.

They're matched up with fifth-seeded UMass in the quarterfinals. Although they're coming off a win against Seton Hall, the Minutemen will struggle against Drexel.

The Dragons have one of the better defenses in the country, ranking fifth in the country in scoring defense.

As the saying goes, defense wins championships, and that may be the case for Drexel in the NIT.



Stanford Cardinals

This is only the second postseason for the Cardinals in Johnny Dawkins' four years at Stanford. It's quite a change from the time of Mike Montgomery and even Trent Johnson.

Stanford has improved significantly from last year, going from 15-16 to 22-11. An NIT title would be an even bigger step in the right direction.

Looking at the rest of the field, though, they probably have the smallest chance of the best remaining teams.

Should the Cardinal get past Illinois State, Nevada is going to present a tough game in the quarterfinals.

Even should they reach the semifinals, it's doubtful they could knock off Drexel.