The 2013 National Invitation Tournament has been rolling right along, with Maryland having already secured a place in the semifinals, and more teams will join the Terrapins on Wednesday night.
However, it’s going to be an absolute battle between the six schools that are vying for the three remaining spots in the NIT’s “Final Four.”
Let’s take a look at each matchup, point out where to watch it and make some picks and predictions.
*Point spreads and odds courtesy of BetOnline.com
For a printable version of the NIT bracket, click here (courtesy of NCAA.com).
(3) Iowa vs. (1) Virginia: Wednesday, Mar. 27 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN
This is going to be a close matchup between two evenly matched teams.
The Hawkeyes are going to have a rebounding advantage over the favorite, but the Cavaliers' defense will likely be the difference-maker in the contest.
Virginia is one of the best defending teams in the nation and should have no problem locking down Roy-Devyn Marble, Iowa’s leading scorer.
On the other side, the Hawkeyes will have their hands full trying to contain both Joe Harris and AkilMitchell, who have combined to score 29.7 points per game during the 2012-13 campaign.
That should be the difference-maker in the end, but Iowa will keep things close and likely have a chance to win it on a late shot.
Pick: Iowa +4.5
(3) BYU vs. (1) Southern Miss: Wednesday, Mar. 27 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPNU
Spread: Southern Miss -6
While these teams are relatively even on paper, the Golden Eagles should be able to run away with a big win in the quarterfinal showdown.
One of the main factors for this is not even an on-court issue, but rather a travel one. After beating Mercer in a blowout win at home, the Cougars' players and staff had to hop on an airplane and fly to Hattiesburg less than 10 hours later in order to prepare for this matchup on Southern Miss’ campus.
The BYU team is going to be exhausted and have a raucous, hostile crowd in its ears the entire night. Senior Brandon Davies, the Cougars' star forward, is going to be hard-pressed to put up another 26-point, 10-rebound performance in those conditions.
Factor in that the Golden Eagles are 14-1 at home this season, employ a star senior themselves in guard Dwayne Davis, rebound extremely well and are fired up for this game and you are looking at the recipe for victory by wide margin.
Pick: Southern Miss -6
(4) Providence vs. (2) Baylor: Wednesday, Mar. 27 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2
Spread: Baylor -9
The Friars are a surprisingly large underdog in this game, which is more confusing considering the relative strength of both their front and backcourt.
While the Bears are capable of pulling away and bombing away from deep, with Brady Heslip, Pierre Jackson and Isaiah Austin all capable of connecting on a high percentage of their long-range shots, Providence should be able to close out on the shooters.
As long as Bryce Cotton is getting the rock and Kadeem Batts and LaDontae Henton are banging for boards, there is no reason to think the Friars can’t win this one straight up.
Take the points and get paid on Wednesday night, as playing the favorite is just too risky.
Pick: Providence +9