The madness of March isn't solely based upon the events of the NCAA tournament. That has been apparent over the duration of the 2014 NIT. One top-seeded team was already sent packing early, and more may be soon to follow in this highly unpredictable tournament.
Five of the teams that will compete in the NIT quarterfinals have already been determined, and upon the conclusion of Monday's three games, the field will be set. Each surviving team has played very well to get to this point, but rough roads are to follow.
Let's recap all of Monday's action and take a look at the updated bracket as we head into the quarterfinals.
Second-Round Day 4 Scores
|Region||Team 1||Team 2||Result|
|4||No. 1 Florida State||No. 4 Georgetown||Florida State 101, Georgetown 90|
|1||No. 1 SMU||No. 5 LSU||SMU 80, LSU 67|
|1||No. 2 California||No. 3 Arkansas||California 75, Arkansas 64|
The complete NIT bracket can be found on CBSSports.com.
No. 1 SMU 80, No. 5 LSU 67
Monday's second game featured a hard-fought contest between SMU and LSU. Both figured to be strong competitors entering the NIT, and neither team disappointed in the first round.
Someone had to emerge victorious in Round 2, and the efficient shooting of the Mustangs paved the way to a quarterfinal berth. SMU shot 59.7 percent from the field, including going nine-of-14 from downtown, effectively defeating the Tigers by a score of 80-67.
The game didn't look to be going in the Mustangs' favor early on. LSU got off to a hot start thanks to a well-balanced offensive attack and went into the break up 40-35 over SMU.
LSU 40, SMU 35 at the break. JOB III and Stringer with nine points apiece. Coleman on double-double alert with eight points, seven boards.— LSUBasketball (@LSUBasketball) March 25, 2014
However, it was a tale of two halves for the Mustangs. They stiffened up on defense and aggressively attacked in the paint to quickly come from behind and gain the lead.
Once the game turned in SMU's favor, the team was electrifying. They began to dominate the boards on defense, turning rebounds into quick points off of fast breaks. This change of speed was a bit much for the Tigers to handle, and the game got out of hand quickly.
The Mustangs outscored the Tigers 45-27 in the second half, sealing a decisive victory.
Four of the team's five starters finished with double-digit points. Nic Moore and Nick Russell each finished with 16, while Markus Kennedy and Shawn Williams recorded 13 and 11, respectively. Keith Frazier played well off the bench and finished with 11 points as well.
SMU was considered by many to be one of the biggest NCAA tournament snubs. Based on the way the team has played in the NIT so far, that notion looks to be accurate.
Larry Brown told me which part of SMU's snub disappointed him the most. http://t.co/u610WPhUEg— Jim Rome (@jimrome) March 17, 2014
The Mustangs will now go on to face the winner of Monday's late-night game between No. 2 California and No. 3 Arkansas. If SMU plays the way it did over the second half of action against LSU, there may not be another team that can keep up.
No. 1 Florida State 101, No. 4 Georgetown 90
The top-seeded Florida State Seminoles certainly looked the part on Monday night. They were all over Georgetown, lighting up the scoreboard early and often on their way to a decisive 101-90 victory.
Florida State 101 Georgetown 90. Thought there was a better chance to see football team hit a hundy. Noles move to NIT quarters.— Max Bretos (@mbretosESPN) March 25, 2014
The Seminoles didn't look like they owned the nation's 200th-ranked offense against the Hoyas in their Round 2 matchup. The team shot 68.2 percent from the field, including 68.8 percent from downtown. Simply put, buckets were plentiful for Florida State.
Noles shoot 68% from the field (30/44) and from 3 (11/16), 78% from FT. G'Town goes 47/40/74.— FSU Men's Basketball (@FSU_MBasketball) March 25, 2014
Guard Aaron Thomas led the way, scoring 26 points and adding six rebounds and two assists. Okaro White and Devon Bookert were on point as well, scoring 16 and 21 points, respectively. The Seminoles even got some great play from the bench, as Ian Miller put up 18 points.
So much for that defensive game we expected...Thomas has 26 (ties career-high), Bookert 21 (CH), Miller 18 in return, White 16.— FSU Men's Basketball (@FSU_MBasketball) March 25, 2014
When Florida State's depth shines through as it did on Monday night, it is a tough team to beat.
Despite a rough loss, Georgetown wasn't exactly laying down. The Hoyas put on an impressive offensive showing as well. They shot 47.5 percent from the field as a team, and three of their five starters scored double-digit points.
Markel Starks led the way for the Hoyas, finishing the game with 27 points. D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Jabril Trawick were solid as well, recording 22 and 14 points, respectively. However, that was not enough to hang with the high-flying Seminoles.
Florida State lit it up in the first half, outscoring Georgetown 48-35. The Seminoles were putting up points so quickly, it seemed as though they would hit the century mark.
That's exactly what they did.
The Seminoles continued their onslaught into the second half, as the team showed no signs of letting off the gas. Georgetown shot relatively well after the break and even outscored the Seminoles 55-53, but the first-half deficit was too much to overcome.
Florida State looks to be a dangerous team heading into the quarterfinals. The shooting clinic it put on against Georgetown will give the team some great confidence and momentum going forward.
They will need it, as the Seminoles are set to take on the high-octane Louisiana Tech Bulldogs in the quarterfinals.
California 75, Arkansas 64
The California Golden Bears didn't have too much trouble winning their matchup against the Arkansas Razorbacks, helping them advance to the semifinals.
It didn't take long for the the Golden Bears to heat up, starting the game on a 9-2 run. Shortly after that, they went on a monster 16-0 run to go up 25-6 thanks to scoring from pretty much everywhere. The Razorbacks couldn't regain too much ground in the first half, entering halftime down 38-23.
Despite the rough first half, Arkansas did have have one of the most exciting plays from the tournament with Fred Gulley III throwing down this exciting dunk over California's Jeff Powers.
Another 13-0 run early in the second half helped the Golden Bears go up 51-27, and after that it was smooth sailing, as California slowed down at the end to coast to a 75-64 victory. Jabari Bird was the team's leading sorer, putting up 19 points and eight rebounds on 7-of-8 shooting.
The biggest reason for California's dominance was their efficiency from the floor, making 55.3 percent of their shots. Arkansas' struggles from the field didn't hurt either, as they made just 32.1 percent of their shots.
After the win, the Bears will have a tough matchup against the Mustangs in the quarterfinals.