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Preseason NIT 2013: Teams, Schedule, Live Stream, Bracket, TV Info

SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 14: Aaron Gordon #11 of theArizona Wildcats dribbles the ball in the first half of the game against xxxx of the San Diego State Aztecs at Viejas Arena on November 14, 2013 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kent C. Horner/Getty Images)
Kent Horner/Getty Images
Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 17, 2013

The Preseason NIT is usually one of the top college basketball tournaments of the early part of the season, and the 2013 version is no different.

Duke and Arizona highlight a field of 16 teams, all trying to make their way to at least the semifinals at Madison Square Garden in New York City. For a few teams, nothing short of a championship will be enough.

One thing that separates this event from others is the fact that it is a true knockout tournament. While there are likely many Blue Devils fans who have already bought tickets for New York City, a loss to any teams in the preliminary stage would knock the squad out of the event.

This means that even Stillman College has a chance of going the distance in this classic championship.

Here is a look at all you need to know about the exciting tournament.

 

Tournament Info

When: Nov. 18 - Nov. 29

TV: ESPN Family of Networks

Live Stream: ESPN3

 

Full Bracket

Participating Teams
West (Tuscon, Ariz.)North (Piscataway, N.J.)South (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)East (Durham, N.C.)
ArizonaRutgersAlabamaDuke
Fairleigh DickensonCanisiusStillman CollegeUNC Asheville
Rhode IslandElonGeorgia StateEast Carolina
Metro StateDrexelMcNeese StateNorfolk State
via NIT.org
NIT Season Tip-Off Schedule
DateGameLocationTime (ET)TV
West Regional
Nov. 18Rhode Island def. Metro State (66-63)McKale Memorial Center8 p.m.-
Nov. 18Arizona def. Fairleigh Dickenson (100-50)McKale Memorial Center11 p.m.ESPNU
Nov. 19Consolation: Fairleigh Dickenson vs. Metro StateMcKale Memorial Center8 p.m.-
Nov. 19Championship: Arizona vs. Rhode IslandMcKale Memorial Center11 p.m.ESPNU
North Regional
Nov. 18Drexel def. Elon (71-64)Rutgers Athletic Center5 p.m.-
Nov. 18Rutgers def. Canisius (66-51)Rutgers Athletic Center7:30 p.m.ESPN3
Nov. 19Consolation: Canisius vs. ElonRutgers Athletic Center5 p.m.-
Nov. 19Championship: Drexel vs. RutgersRutgers Athletic Center7:30 p.m.ESPN3
South Regional
Nov. 18Georgia State def. McNeese State (96-70)Coleman Coliseum5:30 p.m.-
Nov. 18Alabama def. Stillman College (102-65)Coleman Coliseum8 p.m.ESPN3
Nov. 19Consolation: McNeese State vs. Stillman CollegeColeman Coliseum5:30 p.m.-
Nov. 19Championship: Alabama vs. Georgia StateColeman Coliseum8 p.m.ESPN3
East Regional
Nov. 18Duke def. UNC Asheville (91-55)Cameron Indoor Stadium7 p.m.ESPNU
Nov. 18East Carolina def. Norfolk State (76-74)Cameron Indoor Stadium9:30 p.m-
Nov. 19Consolation: Norfolk State vs. UNC AshevilleCameron Indoor Stadium8:30 p.m.-
Nov. 19Championship: Duke vs. East CarolinaCameron Indoor Stadium6 p.m.ESPNU
Championship Rounds
Nov. 27First SemifinalMadison Square Garden7 p.m.ESPNU
Nov. 27Second SemifinalMadison Square Garden9:30 p.m.ESPN2
Nov. 29ConsolationMadison Square Garden3:30 p.m.ESPN
Nov. 29ChampionshipMadison Square Garden6 p.m.ESPN
via NIT.org

 

Top Teams to Watch

Duke

DURHAM, NC - NOVEMBER 08:  Jabari Parker #1 of the Duke Blue Devils celebrates with teammate Quinn Cook #2 after a dunk against the Davidson Wildcats during their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on November 8, 2013 in Durham, North Carolina.  (Photo by Str
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Even in a loss to Kansas, Duke proved how good it was in the Champions Classic. Freshman Jabari Parker looks like a star in the making, while Rodney Hood and Rasheed Sulaimon provide additional scoring on the perimeter.

As usual, the Blue Devils will spread teams out on offense and knock down shots consistently from the outside. Considering at least four players on the court at any time would be considered above-average shooters, this makes the team nearly impossible to guard.

The only question going forward with this team is how they will fare with bigger opponents. Kansas dominated Duke on the boards, and the frontcourt players were able to score all day long inside.

If Amile Jefferson and others cannot make up for this weakness on the inside, it could lead to trouble.

 

Arizona

Nov 14, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Arizona Wildcats guard Gabe York (1) reacts after a basket during the first half against the San Diego State Aztecs at Viejas Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

While Duke is getting a lot of publicity for its freshman, Arizona also has a young player out to prove he is among the best in the country in Aaron Gordon. The athletic forward already has two double-doubles in three games and can throw down a highlight-reel dunk at any time. 

Of course, the Wildcats also have a great deal of balance on the offensive end. Nick Johnson is becoming a go-to scorer, but Brandon Ashely and Kaleb Tarczewski will be expected to contribute as well all season long.

Meanwhile, Duquesne transfer T.J. McConnell is showing that he can be the pass-first point guard that the team needs.

Consistency is a bit of a problem for a team that already had close calls against Cal Poly and San Diego State, but Arizona is clearly one of the top contenders for a national championship this season.

 

Alabama

DALLAS, TX - NOVEMBER 8:  Trevor Releford #12 of the Alabama Crimson Tide drives to the basket against the Oklahoma Sooners during the Tip-Off Showcase on November 8, 2013 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Ima
Cooper Neill/Getty Images

A year after missing out on the NCAA tournament due to a weak schedule, Alabama has challenged itself this season with two tough opening games against Big 12 opponents.

The Crimson Tide were unable to defeat Oklahoma but bounced back well against Texas Tech to sit at 1-1 on the year.

Trevor Releford comes into the year as one of the most underrated players in the country, possessing elite scoring ability despite a small stature. He can shoot the lights out from behind the arc, as well as drive into the lane if the defender is playing too close.

This tournament gives Alabama the chance to showcase its ability on a national stage against top teams. If the Tide are successful here, they will not be worrying about the bubble come March.

 

Sleeper: Drexel

NORTHRIDGE, CA - DECEMBER 18:  Head coach James 'Bruiser' Flint of the Drexel Dragons stands on the court during the game against the Cal State Northridge Matadors on December 18, 2009 at the Matadome in Northridge, California.  (Photo by Jeff Golden/Gett
Jeff Golden/Getty Images

Even though Drexel has to play at Rutgers, there is a decent chance this CAA school can play its way into the semifinals.

Chris Fouch leads the way after 26 points in a win over Illinois State, although there is a lot of balance on this squad. Big men Kazembe Abif and Dartaye Ruffin can rebound with the best in the country, and it helped the team stay within five points of UCLA in the first game of the year.

While Rutgers star Kadeem Mack is in the midst of a breakout season to lead the Scarlet Knights, they cannot look ahead in the regional round. Otherwise, it will be Drexel making the trip to New York City instead.

 

Predicted Winner: Duke

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 24:  Rasheed Sulaimon #14 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts after making a three-pointer in the second half while taking on the Creighton Bluejays during the third round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Wells Fargo Cen
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Tournament organizers are certainly hoping for a battle between Duke and Arizona in the finals. Not only are these two of the best programs in college basketball, but they are also two of the top teams this season with loads of NBA talent.

Fortunately, everyone should get their wish as these squads cruise to the finals over inferior competition.

Once they get there, Duke will have the advantage due to the team's elite offensive ability. Parker gives the squad a great deal of versatility, but he cannot be double-teamed or else someone else will be wide open on the perimeter.

Arizona will keep the game close, but the Wildcats will suffer their first loss of the year at the hands of the Blue Devils.

 

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