Don't sleep on the NIT. Although the 2014 NCAA tournament attracts most of the national audience due to its star-studded cast, the NIT features some highly contested basketball games and is always a delight to watch.
Day 2 of the NIT's first round features some great matchups featuring plenty of powerful teams that just missed out on the Big Dance. Let's take a look at Wednesday's schedule and viewing information followed by predictions for each game's outcome.
Day 2 Schedule
|Region||Team 1||Team 2||Time (ET)||Channel|
|1||No. 1 SMU||No. 8 California-Irvine||9 p.m.||ESPN2|
|1||No. 4 San Francisco||No. 5 LSU||10 p.m.||ESPNU|
|1||No. 2 California||No. 7 Utah Valley||10:30 p.m.||ESPN3|
|2||No. 2 Illinois||No. 7 Boston||7 p.m.||ESPN2|
|3||No. 3 Southern Miss||No. 6 Toledo||8:30 p.m.||ESPN3|
|4||No. 3 Louisiana Tech||No. 6 Iona||7:30 p.m.||ESPN3|
|4||No. 2 Georgia||No. 7 Vermont||8 p.m.||ESPNU|
Day 2 NIT action can be live streamed on ESPN3.
Here's the 2014 NIT Bracket - SMU, St. John's, Minnesota & FSU #1 seeds pic.twitter.com/kcR8riEQa7— ESPNU (@ESPNU) March 17, 2014
The full updated NIT bracket can be viewed on CBSSports.com.
Day 2 Predictions
SMU may have been one of the biggest snubs of the NCAA tournament. The Mustangs hold a 23-9 record and produced some quality wins during the regular season against Connecticut, Memphis and Cincinnati—all teams that earned bids in the Big Dance.
SMU: The rare ranked team to miss out on the NCAA tournament http://t.co/W11SJwBIv4— Eye on College BBall (@EyeOnCBB) March 17, 2014
The Mustangs shouldn't have any trouble defeating California-Irvine on Wednesday, as SMU's 20th-ranked defense will carry them through to victory.
No. 5 LSU will pull off the upset over No. 4 San Francisco on Day 2. The Tigers just barely missed out on the NCAA tournament due to their roller-coaster late season. However, they have been playing well lately, defeating Alabama 68-56 in the SEC Tournament.
In another upset, No. 7 Utah Valley will top No. 2 California. The Golden Bears have been struggling of late, losing nine of their last 14 contests including being ousted early from the Pac-12 tournament by Colorado.
Utah Valley went on a nice four-game winning streak before losing to Idaho in the WAC tournament. The Wolverines defense will make things difficult for a stagnant California offense and emerge victorious here.
Illinois won't have a problem handling Boston University on Wednesday. The Illini really began to turn it up over the final stretch of the season. They beat Michigan State and Iowa before being edged 64-63 in the Big Ten tournament by Michigan.
Look for Southern Miss to continue riding its 31st-ranked defense on its way to a victory over Toledo on Day 2 of NIT action. The Golden Eagles looked good during their late six-game winning streak, holding opponents to less than 60 points in four of those six contests.
Louisiana Tech really could have done some damage in the NCAA tournament. The Bulldogs have a well-rounded team ranking 15th in the nation in scoring offense and 63rd in scoring defense. Unfortunately, a loss in the C-USA tournament final to Tulsa cost them a berth in the Big Dance.
Iona has been a solid team for a good chunk of the regular season; however, Louisiana Tech's speed will allow them to score big points in transition and come away with the win.
Watch out, Bulldogs. No. 7 Vermont is poised to upset No. 2 Georgia on Day 2. The Bulldogs went on a nice late-season run; however, their offense has struggled to generate points this season. Vermont enters the NIT with the nation's 14th-ranked defense, which will make things even more difficult for a faltering Georgia offense.