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NIT Bracket 2013: Top Seeds That Will Continue to Dominate Tournament

GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 15:  Seth Allen #4 of the Maryland Terrapins celebrates during their 83 to 74 win over the Duke Blue Devils during the quarterfinals of the ACC Men's Basketball Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum on March 15, 2013 in Greensboro, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Kyle NewportFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2013

The National Invitational Tournament saw its fair share of first-round upsets, but the madness has ended as Virginia and the other top seeds have emerged as the victors.

Outside of Kentucky being upset at Robert Morris, the top seeds have been showing why they were worthy of their ranking. 

As of Saturday, there is no team lower than a three seed in the quarterfinals of the NIT. That trend should continue as more teams advance, but the winner of Robert Morris at Providence will change that slightly.

The NIT may not get a lot of attention while the NCAA tournament is going on, but that's not stopping a few teams from working hard.

Here are a few teams that will continue to advance in the NIT (bracket courtesy of CBSSports.com).

 

Virginia

As a No. 1 seed, the Cavaliers feel like they were snubbed from the NCAA tournament. That hasn't made a difference in their effort level so far.

The Cavaliers knocked off North Carolina, North Carolina State and Duke in the regular season, and they took Miami down to the wire. They had a solid argument for an at-large bid, but now they have to set their eyes on the NIT championship.

Junior Joe Harris may be the most prolific player left in the tournament. He scores 16.7 points per game, but he can explode for 25 to 30 points. Virginia is 7-2 when he puts up at least 20 points, so he is the key to its offense.

After an easy win against Norfolk State, the Cavaliers will have to take on St. John's on Sunday. If they advance, they will get Iowa in the quarterfinals. Virginia is much better than both of those teams and should have an easy path to the semifinals.

 

Baylor

The Bears defeated Kentucky and Kansas in the regular season, but poor defense cost them any chance of making the NCAA tournament.

In its opening game of the NIT, Baylor smacked Long Beach State. They put up 59 points in the first half and allowed only 66 in the entire game. Brady Heslip made eight three-pointers in the route, but the Bears shouldn't get used to him putting on a show like that.

They can instead rely on senior Pierre Jackson on the offensive end. The guard has scored at least 20 points in four of his past five games, with the one game being the blowout which had him play only 20 minutes.

Baylor is already in the quarterfinals. Kentucky was the No. 1 seed in Baylor's region, but now the Bears have to wait to see if Robert Morris can continue its magic against Providence. The bottom of Baylor's half of the bracket has also seen Florida State and Tennessee fall. If Southern Miss gets upset, the Bears will be the clear favorite to reach the finals.

One potential semifinal matchup would be with BYU. These two teams played at Baylor earlier this season and the Bears rallied from an early deficit to win the game.

The Bears have the easiest remaining road to the semifinals, and the road to the finals could get even easier with an upset in the other region.

 

Maryland

A narrow loss against North Carolina in the ACC tournament cost the Terrapins an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament, but they are in great position to make a run in the NIT.

Dez Wells has made 60 percent of his shots in the NIT and has shot at least 50 percent from the floor in four of his past five games. The sophomore averaged only 13 points per game in the regular season, but he has at least 15 points in seven of the last nine games.

Unlike the other teams mentioned, Maryland will be the underdog in its next game. The Terrapins will face No. 1 Alabama, but Maryland has been better this season. With wins against North Carolina State and Duke, they have better wins than the Crimson Tide.

Maryland likes to play quick and score a lot of points. What gives the Terrapins the edge over Alabama is their ability to rebound the ball. They rank third in the nation with 40 rebounds per game. Center Alex Len averages nearly eight boards per game.

The ability to score quick and grab a ton of boards makes them a very dangerous team. 

 

*All stats are from ESPN.com

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