NIT Bracket 2014: Most Exciting Players to Watch in Second Round

Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IIMarch 20, 2014

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 14:  Jabari Brown #32 of the Missouri Tigers reacts in the final minutes of their 72-49 loss to the Florida Gators during the quarterfinals of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at Georgia Dome on March 14, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The first round of the NIT is in the books, and with the second round starting up on Thursday, there will be a few exciting players to keep an eye out for.

The biggest upset from the first round had to be the No. 8 Robert Morris Colonials taking down the No. 1 seed St. John's Red Storm, 89-78. Most of the scoring for the Colonials came from Lucky Jones and Karvel Anderson, as they put up 25 and 38 points, respectively.

With the second round starting up on Thursday, let's take a look at some of the biggest names to watch for.


Jabari Brown, G, Missouri Tigers

As a No. 2 seed, the Missouri Tigers are expected to make a deep run in this year's NIT, and in order to keep winning games, they'll need junior guard Jabari Brown to continue to put up big numbers.

During Missouri's first-round game against Davidson, Brown was able to do just that. He put up 30 points on 9-of-16 shooting in 40 minutes of play, giving the Tigers the 85-77 win. That scoring outburst wasn't out of the ordinary, either, as Brown averages 20.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game, shooting 47.2 percent and 40.6 percent from downtown.

The Tigers will be playing the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles in their second-round matchup, and that could be a tough matchup for Brown. The Golden Eagles have given up just 62.9 points per game while forcing an average of 16.2 turnovers per contest.

In order for Brown to continue to play well, he'll need to make sure to take care of the ball, or it could be a very long day for the Tigers.


Karvel Anderson, G, Robert Morris Colonials

You may have never heard about him before the NIT, but Anderson put himself on the national spotlight with that huge game against St. John's.

The 38-point outburst in the first round was the fourth time this year Anderson has scored at least 30 points in a game. This season, the senior guard is averaging 19.6 points and 3.4 rebounds per game while shooting an impressive 51.1 percent from the floor and 46.2 percent from behind the arc, making him the definition of an efficient scorer.

Anderson could be poised for another big game in the second round against Belmont. While the Bruins are one of the most efficient teams offensively, they struggle on the other side of the ball, giving up 74 points per game. 

The Colonials may have a tough time keeping up with Belmont's offense, but if Anderson can put up 38 points like he did in the first round, Robert Morris has a shot.


J.J. Mann, G/F, Belmont Bruins

Mar 7, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; Belmont Bruins guard/forward J.J. Mann (24) controls the ball against the Morehead State Eagles during the first half in the semifinals of the Ohio Valley Conference basketball tournament at Nashville Memorial Auditorium.
Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of the Bruins, they have a pretty good scorer of their own.

Senior wingman J.J. Mann has been a constantly reliable scorer for the Bruins, scoring at least 10 points in all but four games. He's been filling up the stat sheet all year, averaging 18.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.1 steals per game. He hasn't been as efficient as Brown or Anderson, but he's still shot 46.4 percent on the year.

Much like the Bruins, Robert Morris isn't the best team on defense. They give up 71.5 points per game with opponents shooting 45.3 percent. With the matchup, there's a chance we could see a shootout between Anderson and Mann as the two try to see who can put up the bigger numbers to lead their respective teams to a win.