While the NCAA tournament is stealing all the headlines, the 2014 NIT has featured several unheralded teams rising to the occasion and several programs failing to live up to postseason expectations.
With several marquee programs that missed out on the Big Dance competing on Monday in the second round, college basketball fans will be treated to even more action on top of the already impressive NCAA tourney.
Here is Monday’s full NIT schedule and predictions for each game. Get your 2014 NIT bracket here.
|Monday's 2014 NIT Schedule|
|Time (ET)||Matchup||TV||Live Stream||Predicted Winner|
|7 p.m.||(4) Georgetown at (1) Florida State||ESPN||WatchESPN||Florida State|
|9 p.m.||(5) LSU at (1) Southern Methodist||ESPN||WatchESPN||SMU|
|11 p.m.||(3) Arkansas at (2) California||ESPN 2||WatchESPN||Cal|
Monday’s Marquee Matchup: No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 4 Georgetown
This may be a matchup worthy of the NCAA tournament stage. The NIT battle between No. 1-seeded Florida State Seminoles (20-13, 9-9 ACC) squaring off against No. 4-seeded Georgetown Hoyas (18-14, 8-10 Big East) will steal the show on Monday.
Florida State started the season as one of the hottest teams in the nation but struggled throughout the second half of the year and missed the NCAA tournament due to the lack of success down the stretch.
Georgetown suffered a similar fate as the Seminoles at the end of the conference schedule, but the Hoyas have also struggled to find any real consistency. This is a matchup of talented teams that have not put together a reliable game plan.
Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton released a statement to The Miami Herald regarding the team’s opportunity to play in the NIT before it began:
This is a great opportunity for our team to continue playing and to gain experience in a postseason tournament. The NIT field includes many outstanding teams that have enjoyed outstanding seasons. The field in the NIT continues to improve each season and this is quite possible the best NIT field I can remember. We really want our fans to continue to be behind our team as they have been all season long.
Neither team boasts an explosive offensive unit, but both programs posses a smart core of players that play defense well and shoot efficiently. The tempo of this game will be slower than most anticipate, but the pace will be methodical.
The key will be Florida State forward Okaro White and whether or not he will be able to keep his hot streak going. After stuffing the stat box for 17 points, seven rebounds, four steals, an assist and a block against Florida Gulf Coast, White has the ability to put the team on his back and elevate them to the next level.
Whether the Seminoles find consistency on offense or not will determine if Georgetown can pull out the upset victory.
Predicted Final Score: Florida State 71, Georgetown 66
*Stats via ESPN.com.