NIT Tournament 2013: Breaking Down Friday's Matchups

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistMarch 22, 2013

Mar 02, 2013; Waco, TX, USA; Baylor Bears forward Cory Jefferson (34) blocks a shot by Kansas State Wildcats guard Omari Lawrence (12) during the second half at the Ferrell Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 NIT Tournament gets overshadowed by the madness of the NCAA tournament, but Friday’s matchups are intriguing enough to force college basketball fans to tune into the action.

With only two games on the NIT docket, the focus on the matchups will have the secondary tournament under a microscope.

All of the excitement will cause a frenzy around Friday’s action.


No. 3 Arizona State at No. 2 Baylor

When the No. 3 Arizona State Sun Devils square off with the No. 2 Baylor Bears (8 p.m. ET on ESPN2), the battle between Pac-12 and Big 12 powerhouses will convince college basketball fans to watch this fast-paced action.

Both Baylor and Arizona State love to get into the open court and run, and the high-paced offensive schemes will cause a lack of defense from either team. That will result in a high-scoring game.

The Sun Devils and Bears not only average more than 70 points per game (71 and 74.4 respectively), but they are two of the more efficient shooting teams in college basketball (both programs have a field-goal percentage of above .450).

Baylor has the size advantage down low with center Isaiah Austin and forward Cory Jefferson, and that advantage will likely be the difference in this NIT battle.

Prediction: Baylor 77, Arizona State 71


No. 7 Stony Brook at No. 3 Iowa

One of the biggest travesties of the NIT in 2013 is the seeding of the No. 7 Stony Brook Seawolves, especially after they went 25-7 this season and 14-2 in America East Conference play.

While the No. 3 Iowa Hawkeyes had a solid season in the Big Ten Conference, the favorites will fall victim to the stellar play of the Seawolves on Friday (9:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU).

Led by the versatility of forward Tommy Brenton, Stony Brook will give the Hawkeyes one of their toughest matchups this season offensively and defensively. Iowa’s main advantage is their rebounding (10th in the country with 39.4 rebounds per game), but the Seawolves average 38 rebounds as well.

The Hawkeyes have been officially put on upset alert.

Prediction: Stony Brook 65, Iowa 60

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