NIT 2013: Previewing Friday's Second-Round Slate of Action
It doesn't provide the same end result as the NCAA tournament, but the NIT features the same competition and excitement that coincides with March Madness.
For the teams that weren't fortunate enough to sway the committee in favor of awarding it a bid for the big dance, the NIT allows college players to extend their seasons and compete for a championship of some sort.
The NIT resumes on Friday with two games that will send the winners to the quarterfinals on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Here's a look at the action for Friday's NIT slate of games.
No. 3 Arizona State (21-12, 9-9) at No. 2 Baylor (19-14, 9-9): 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2
Coming off an 83-68 win over Detroit, the Arizona State Sun Devils will travel to Waco to take on the Baylor Bears.
Baylor won its first NIT game in a landslide, beating Long Beach State by 46 points, as Brady Heslip was feeling it from three, going 8-for-11 from beyond the arc to finish with 26 points in 22 minutes. The Bears shot better than 63 percent from both field goal range and downtown against the 49ers.
With Baylor surging, this one should be all Bears on Friday night. Baylor has an impressive 81-58 win over Kansas on its resume this season.
As long as Baylor can contain Jahii Carson, who scored 22 points and grabbed 10 boards in the win over Detroit, it shouldn't have any trouble. The freshman guard has been outstanding for ASU this year, leading the Sun Devils in scoring (18.4 points per game) and assists (5.1 per game).
On defense, the interior presence of Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson will likely be too much for Arizona State's bigs. Expect Pierre Jackson to lead the Bears in scoring and use his active hands on defense to frustrate the Sun Devils' guards, leading to a Baylor win.
No. 7 Stony Brook (25-7, 14-2) at Iowa (22-12, 9-9): 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU
After an impressive showing in the American East conference, Stony Brook took down Massachusetts 71-58 in its first NIT game this year behind 20 points from both Anthony Jackson and Dave Coley.
The Iowa Hawkeyes had an average season in the Big Ten, which resulted in the NIT bid, where they beat Indiana State by 16 in the opening round.
Roy Devyn Marble (14 points per game) has been the leader for Iowa all season and he did it again vs. Indiana St., pouring in 24 points to lead Iowa to the next round of the NIT.
Which of the four teams has the best chance to advance to the quarterfinals?
One department where the Hawkeyes will definitely have the edge is in the rebounding department, where Iowa ranks 10th in the nation, pulling in an average of more than 39 rebounds per game. Aaron White leads the rebounding attack at six per game, but six Hawkeyes pull in at least three rebounds per game.
The key for Stony Brook will be to force Iowa into bad shots and hit the glass hard for rebounds. The Hawkeyes rank 200th in the nation in field goal percentage (.422) and don't typically shoot the basketball all that well.
If Jackson and Coley can keep it going, Stony Brook will have a chance; but because of the rebounding edge, I like Iowa to win this one.
For a look at the NIT bracket, click here.
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