NIT Tournament 2013: Underdogs Set to Make a Deep Run

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NIT Tournament 2013: Underdogs Set to Make a Deep Run
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Ohio Bobcats have the offensive firepower to go deep in the NIT tournament in 2013, despite the fact that they enter the fray as a No. 6 seed.

Ohio isn't the only underdog poised to make a deep run in the NIT tournament, though. 

While the NIT isn't the tournament these teams would like to be competing in at this time, they'll make the most of their opportunities. Half-court offense and hot shooting will win the day, and these teams have the players to make it happen.

Printable bracket can be found here, courtesy of the official NIT website.

 

Ohio Bobcats (6)

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Ohio enters the NIT having won nine of its last 12 games, and it will be facing the Denver Pioneers (3) in Round 1. 

There is no team in the nation more adept at moving the ball in half-court sets than Ohio, which averages 17.7 assists per game (No. 1 in the NCAA). As a result of the team's crisp ball movement, the Bobcats score a lot of points and average nearly 73 points per contest.

Senior guard D.J. Cooper is the team's leader, and his all-around game will be tough to stop. Cooper averages 14.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, 7.2 assists and 2.1 steals per game.

Denver has been hot for the second half of the season, winning 17 of its last 19 games but recently lost to Texas State right before the tournament. The Pioneers are a poor rebounding team that will struggle against Ohio unless the Bobcats have a horrible shooting night. 

 

Stony Brook (7)

Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

The Seawolves enter the tournament on a hot streak, having won 11 of their last 13 games, and they will be facing Massachusetts (2) in Round 1. 

Three players average more than 10 points per game, with freshman Jameel Warney leading the way. The 6'8", 255-pounder is a dominant presence inside, and he averages 12.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per contest. 

Senior forward Tommy Brenton is also a strong player inside for Stony Brook, and the combination of him and Warney inside deters many easy buckets for opposing teams.

Massachusetts enters the tourney on a recent 7-6 streak and is a team that has been wildly inconsistent all year long. The Minutemen are a poor shooting team, which spells doom against the dominant frontcourt of Stony Brook. 

 

Stephen F. Austin (5)

USA TODAY Sports

The Lumberjacks only lost four games all year, having compiled a record of 27-4. They will take on Stanford (4) in Round 1.

A team that moves the ball well (15.6 assists per game) and shoots with deadly accuracy (46.9 percent from the floor), Stephen F. Austin will be tough to defeat if its offense is clicking on all cylinders.

Senior forward Taylor Smith is an incredibly efficient scorer inside, making 69.2 percent of all shots attempted. He's also a dominant interior defender who averages 9.3 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game.

Stanford is limping into the NIT, having lost six of its last 10 contests and is ripe for an early exit. 

*Unless otherwise noted, all statistics courtesy of ESPN.com

For a full printable NCAA tournament bracket, click here. Also, follow along Bleacher Report's live bracket. Make your picks for the 2013 NCAA tournament here with the Bracket Challenge Game.

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78 

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