NIT 2013 Schedule: Teams to Watch for on the Road to Madison Square Garden
The NIT has historically been a place where the snubbed find new life.
It's never a pleasant experience getting left out of the NCAA tournament, but the NIT marks an opportunity for teams to finish the season on a high note.
Whether it's a team that was pegged as one of the top squads in the country before the season, or a team that has beaten Duke twice, here's a look at some teams to watch in the 2013 NIT.
*The complete bracket can be found here
Record: 21-11, 12-6 SEC
Will Kentucky win the 2013 NIT tournament?
It's been a massively disappointing season for Kentucky.
But while the Wildcats got blown out by Vanderbilt in the SEC tournament, they did upset Florida the game before.
There is obviously a lot of young talent on this team—even minus the injured Nerlens Noel. When the Wildcats resemble the team that ranked 21st in the nation in field-goal percentage and 26th in opponents' field-goal percentage, they can surprise...like they did against Florida.
But they are also wildly inconsistent. They shot 35 percent against Vanderbilt, and allowed the Commodores to shoot 50 percent.
Tabbed a title contender before the season, the Wildcats may not even win the NIT if they don't show some consistency.
Record: 18-14, 9-9 Big 12
Baylor has lost 14 games this season, but the Bears' recent play could make them a sleeper in the NIT.
The Bears have only won twice in their last five contests, but one of those wins came against Kansas. They also lost by three points to Kansas State and two points to Oklahoma State.
Baylor ranks in the top 50 in points per game (31st), rebounds per contest (41st) and assists per game (33rd). On the other hand, the defense has generally been lacking this season.
Senior guard Pierre Jackson and freshman big man Isaiah Austin lead the Bears.
Record: 25-9, 12-4 C-USA
Southern Miss ranks 11th in the nation in field-goal percentage and 25th in rebounding rate this season.
The Golden Eagles forced overtime against No. 20 Memphis in the C-USA tournament, staying active on the glass in the process (12 offensive rebounds). That was despite the fact that Memphis has been a solid rebounding squad this season (39th in rebounding rate).
Southern Miss won seven of its last nine games (two losses came to Memphis). The Golden Eagles can be dangerous when they are hitting their shots.
Record: 22-12, 8-10 ACC
Maryland mainly floundered against ACC competition this season, but two wins against Duke show the young team has potential.
In the 83-74 victory over the Blue Devils on March 15, sophomore Dez Wells posted 30 points, while sophomore center Alex Len posted 10 points, eight rebounds and one block. In the narrow 79-76 loss to North Carolina, Wells posted 15 points, while Len added 20 points and seven rebounds.
The Terrapins rank in the top 40 in field-goal percentage, 11th in opponents' field-goal percentage and sixth in rebounding rate. When they are clicking, they can be a tough out.
Make your picks for the 2013 NCAA Tournament here with the Bracket Challenge Game.
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