NIT Tournament 2014: Round 2 Schedule and Storylines to Watch

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2014

Robert Morris guard Karvel Anderson (15) dribbles the ball against Providence during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the second round of the NIT in Providence, R.I., Monday, March 25, 2013. Providence defeated Robert Morris 77-68. (AP Photo/Stew Milne)
Stew Milne/Associated Press

A No. 1 seed has fallen and individual performances have trumped that of team efforts on the path to an NIT title so far this March.

Of course, that title is the biggest consolation prize in the land as some of the nation's best teams that just missed the cut to the NCAA tournament duke it out in the 2014 edition of the NIT.

Each team would obviously prefer to play in the Big Dance, but the smaller tournament is a great way for programs of various sizes to build toward something better in the coming years.

For fans, the NIT is another great option for quality basketball—and some of the hottest storylines the collegiate landscape has to offer.

NIT Round 2 Schedule
Date Matchup Time (ET) TV
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
CBS Sports


Can Bulldogs Mann Up Again?

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 14:  Charles Mann #4 of the Georgia Bulldogs reacts after forcing a turnover by the Mississippi Rebels during the quarterfinals of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at Georgia Dome on March 14, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Ke
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Georgia Bulldogs escaped with a 63-56 win over Vermont in the first round despite being stuck in a quagmire of a game that featured major runs and plenty of turnovers.

Bulldogs coach Mark Fox put it best after the win, according to the Associated Press, via The Washington Post:

Our ball-handling was terrible. We talked about it at the half and did our best to correct it. It took us a while. The bus had to run over us before we decided to get back to who we really were all year, and I was concerned about that.

The saving grace? Sophomore Charles Mann, one of college basketball's rising stars. Mann managed 13.9 points per game in the regular season, but exploded for 29 on an 8-of-11 shooting and tallied 12 of his points from the charity stripe.

Now safely into Round 2, the Bulldogs may not be able to reverse the sloppy play that landed them in the NIT in the first place, but Mann has what it takes to single-handedly lift his team past Louisiana Tech. If he can do that Georgia has a potential showdown looming with either Georgetown or Florida State.

Keep a close eye on No. 4, as the Bulldogs' season depends on him.


SMU's Quest for Redemption

John F. Rhodes/Associated Press

The biggest snub of all in regards to the Big Dance, the Mustangs are out to show the selection committee the error of its ways.

Coach Larry Brown publicly expressed his disappointment after Selection Sunday, via's Adam Zagoria:

Even athletic director Rick Hart got in on the action through his blog on the team's athletics website:

Looking back, I believe our schedule did appropriately challenge our team. We collected 23 wins, 12 in the conference, and were competitive in every game we played - within "striking distance" at the last media timeout of our nine losses. Our team ranked in the top-15 nationally in offensive FG% and defensive FG%. We played nine teams in the NCAA tournament field (with a 4-5 record in those games), collected four victories against ranked opponents - the most since the 1955-56 campaign, and finished tied for third in the conference.

Brown and his team have translated the disappointment into productivity on the court thus far. Round 1 was a 68-54 win over UC Irvine, with LSU next up. The team's offensive prowess that probably should have landed it in the Big Dance isn't going anywhere; the Mustangs rank in the top 20 in field goal percentage and dish more than 15 assists per game.

Watch for SMU to continue to roll the opposition, as an NIT crown would only further reinforce the notion that the Mustangs should have gone dancing.


The Karvel Anderson Show

Stew Milne/Associated Press

Mann posted quite the performance, but it pales in comparison to what Robert Morris' Karvel Anderson did as the No. 8 seed shocked the No. 1 seed St. John's, 89-78.

Anderson, who as a senior averaged a stellar 19.6 points per game, dropped 38 on the Red Storm to lead all scorers. He had quite the shot chart as a result:

Yes, the graphic says Anderson posted a 9-of-15 mark from downtown. He'll have to keep that pace in order for the Colonials to keep upsetting higher-ranked opposition. First up is Belmont, before a date with either Clemson or Illinois.

Anderson's performance had a ripple effect on the bracket in more ways than one, as ESPN's Fran Fraschilla details:

Since the NIT is a hotbed for show-stealing individual performances rather than the slower, team-based Big Dance, Anderson is the one to watch as things progress in Round 2.


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