The first round of the NIT is all wrapped up, and the second round should have some pretty exciting matchups to watch for starting on Thursday.
There were some exciting games from the first round, but the most exciting was Robert Morris and St. John's, as the Colonials were able to pull off the big upset to advance to the second round.
With the second-round matchups officially set, let's take a look at the complete schedule and TV info along with a preview of a couple of the matchups.
NIT Round 2 Schedule
|Friday, March 21||(8) Robert Morris vs. (5) Belmont||9:30 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Saturday, March 22||(3) Louisiana Tech vs. (2) Georgia||11 a.m.||ESPN|
|Sunday, March 23||(2) Illinois vs. (3) Clemson||11 a.m.||ESPN|
|Sunday, March 23||(4) Saint Mary's vs. (1) Minnesota||3 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Sunday, March 23||(3) Southern Miss. vs. (2) Missouri||5 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Monday, March 24||(4) Georgetown vs. (1) Florida State||7 p.m.||ESPN|
|Monday, March 24||(6) LSU vs. (1) SMU||9 p.m.||ESPN|
|Monday, March 24||(3) Arkansas vs. (2) California||11 p.m.||ESPN2|
No. 8 Robert Morris vs. No. 5 Belmont
Date: Friday March 21
Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
After pulling off the surprising upset against St. John's, the Colonials have another tough matchup in the second round against the Belmont Bruins.
This game is an interesting matchup that could result in a shootout. The Bruins have an especially effective offense, putting up 80.2 points per game while shooting a dominant 50.4 percent from the field—the second-best mark in the nation. They have four players averaging at least 10 points per game, with J.J. Mann leading the way with 18.1 points per game on 46.4 percent shooting.
Meanwhile, both teams have below-average defenses. The Bruins give up 74 points per game on 46.1 percent shooting, while the Colonials allow 71.5 points per game and 45.3 percent from the field.
Robert Morris doesn't have as strong of an offense, so they will need to focus on forcing turnovers; they cause an average of 12.9 per game. Karvel Anderson will also need to continue to put up big numbers, as he's averaging 19.6 points per game and is coming off of a 38-point performance against St. John's.
This could be a very high-scoring game, and it should be a fun matchup to watch as Anderson and Mann will likely be putting up points in bunches.
No. 6 LSU vs. No. 1 SMU
Date: Monday, March 24
Time: 9 p.m. ET
Which team will win?
Plenty of people were surprised that the SMU Mustangs were unable to land a big in the NCAA tournament, but as a No. 1 seed in the NIT, they'll be looking to prove the selection committee wrong by taking home the tournament's title.
But before they can do that, the Mustangs will have to get through the LSU Tigers. The Tigers are a strong team on the glass, averaging 39.7 rebounds per game—10th best in the country. They have some solid players down low in Jordan Mickey and Johnny O'Bryant, as the two combine for 28.3 points and 15.7 rebounds per game.
While the Tigers have some solid players, their offense should have some trouble getting through SMU's defense. The Mustangs hold opponents to just 62.3 points per game, 37.7 percent shooting and 31.8 percent from behind the arc.
Offensively, the Tigers aren't bad either. They shoot 48.7 percent from the floor and do a nice job distributing the ball, averaging 15.2 assists per game. SMU should be the clear favorite to win, but the Tigers have a chance if they can continue to dominate on the glass.