NIT 2012: Updated Bracket and Schedule for March 17

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 07:  Peyton Siva #3 of the Louisville Cardinals defends against Jordan Theodore #1 of the Seton Hall Pirates during their second round game of the Big East Men's Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 7, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

While the NCAA Tournament is the cream of the crop, the 2012 NIT Tournament has some of the best matchups you could ever imagine from the teams that barely missed the big dance.

The NIT bracket is ready to be busted.  As we look at the schedule, today could easily be the day that has the majority of fans ripping up their office pool bracket in frustration.

As much as fans will be watching all of the NCAA action, there is no reason not to put the televised NIT games into you TV rotation. The games will be just as good, but with far less fanfare.

NIT Tournament bracket here.

MATCHUP DATE, TIME NETWORK
 No. 1 Seton Hall vs. No. 4 UMass  March 17, 11 a.m. ET  ESPN
 No. 3 Drexel vs. No. 7 UNI  March 18, 11 a.m. ET  ESPN
 No. 4 Nevada vs. No. 8 Bucknell  March 18, 3 p.m. ET  ESPNU
 No. 3 Oregon vs. No. 7 Iowa  March 18, 5 p.m. ET  ESPNU
 No. 1 Tennessee vs. No. 4 Middle Tennessee  March 19, 7 p.m. ET  ESPN
 No. 2 Miami vs. No. 6 Minnesota  March 19, 9 p.m. ET  ESPN
 No. 3 Stanford vs. No. 7 Illinois State  March 19, 11:30 p.m. ET  ESPN2

Saturday’s Matchup: (5) Massachusetts at (1) Seton Hall

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 02:  The mascot for the Seton Hall Pirates performs against the Auburn Tigers at Prudential Center on December 2, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
Chris Chambers/Getty Images

When the Seton Hall Pirates and the Massachusetts Minutemen meet up for their Sweet 16 battle on Saturday, they will be the only NIT game. The will also be televised on ESPN so the focus and reputation of the NIT is on the line.

With the NIT game starting before the NCAA Tournament gets back underway, all of the March Madness fans will be giving the NIT a chance. They won’t be disappointed when Seton Hall puts on a show and steals a late victory.

Best Matchup of the Weekend: (7) Northern Iowa at (3) Drexel

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 25:  Frank Elegar #15 and Kenell Sanchez #1 of the Drexel Dragons react to losing their Preseason NIT Tournament game to the UCLA Bruins at Madison Square Garden on November 25, 2005 in New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images
Nick Laham/Getty Images

As good as Seton Hall vs. Massachusetts will be, there is no weekend game we are looking forward to more than Drexel vs. Northern Iowa on Sunday afternoon. While Northern Iowa is a tough team, Drexel is looking for redemption after being pushed aside by the NCAA committee.

While the Panthers are a solid team, the Dragons are ready to get back to playing basketball and back to winning games. Expect Drexel’s superior rebounding to be a key factor in this matchup.

Check back for more on the NCAA basketball as it comes, and check out Bleacher Report’s College Basketball Page to get your fill of college basketball.

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