While the average college basketball viewer will tune into all of the NCAA tournament March Madness action, the hoops lover will be double-dipping with the NIT now that the quarterfinals are here and the action has picked up even more.
With the field down to just eight schools, it's anyone's championship to win, as these squads with a chip on their shoulders will fight for the right to play at Madison Square Garden in New York in the semifinal round.
We've already seen some exciting games unfold throughout the NIT, and that's only set to improve now that the best teams are advancing deep into the tourney.
Let's break it all down.
|2014 NIT Quarterfinal Schedule: March 25|
|9 p.m.||Southern Miss||Minnesota||ESPN|
Quarterfinal Day 1 Preview
Belmont at Clemson
Out of the Ohio Valley Conference, Belmont is a mainstay in the NCAA tournament. But after proving unable to win their conference tourney this year, the Bruins are busy trying to prove themselves in the NIT against a top foe.
In doing so, the No. 5 seed Bruins will go up against the No. 3 seed Clemson Tigers on Tuesday on ESPN, with the winner advancing to New York in the NIT semifinals.
Belmont has had some good fortune against ACC teams this season, having beaten then-12th-ranked North Carolina on the road back in November. A win over the Tigers on Tuesday night would make it 2-0 for Belmont against arguably the premier basketball conference.
That will be easier said than done against this Clemson team. Finishing a signature win or two away from making the Big Dance, the Tigers have star power with K.J. McDaniels (17.3 points per game) and have been in a plethora of tight games.
Expect this one to come down to one or two possessions.
Southern Miss at Minnesota
No. 3 seed Southern Miss will get yet another chance to knock off a power-conference foe in the NIT, only a win over Minnesota would be much more than a victory.
It would send Southern Miss to Madison Square Garden.
The Golden Eagles have sprinted out to a 29-6 record this season, narrowly missing the NCAA tournament bubble but making a case as one of the most dangerous teams outside of that 68-school field. The Golden Gophers, on the other hand, notched a No. 1 seed, meaning they weren't far off from the Big Dance themselves.
A balanced scoring attack of four players in double figures has the Golden Eagles playing hot as of late, and if they can get the three ball going like they did against Missouri (9-of-23), then Southern Miss will be able to really make Minnesota sweat.
Winner: Southern Miss
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