NIT 2019: Schedule, Live Stream and Bracket Predictions for Semifinals

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistApril 2, 2019

TCU guard Desmond Bane (1) celebrates sinking a three-point basket in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas State in Fort Worth, Texas, Monday, March 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Before the men's basketball spotlight shifts to the Final Four this weekend, the NIT title will be decided at Madison Square Garden. 

A pair of mid-major programs and a duo of Big 12 teams are left in the tournament, which holds its semifinal games Tuesday. 

Wichita State and Lipscomb went on Cinderella runs to reach New York City, as they both won three true road games.

Big 12 foes Texas and TCU face off in Tuesday's second game. TCU won both regular-season meetings over the Longhorns. 

                             

NIT Semifinals Schedule

Tuesday, April 2

No. 5 Lipscomb vs. No. 6 Wichita State (7 p.m. ET, ESPN) 

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No. 1 TCU vs. No. 2 Texas (9 p.m. ET, ESPN) 

Games can be live-streamed on WatchESPN or the ESPN app

                 

Predictions

Lipscomb over Wichita State

Instead of sulking over missing out on the NCAA tournament, Lipscomb took its opportunity in the NIT and ran with it. 

The Bisons showed no fear on their travels, as they knocked off Davidson, UNC Greensboro and NC State to advance to Madison Square Garden. 

Wichita State forged a similar path to New York City, as it took down the top three seeds in its bracket: Furman, Clemson and Indiana. 

Although the Shockers are the more recognizable team and may be seen as favorites by casual fans, Lipscomb is the team to beat in the matchup.

The Bisons have the most dynamic scorer on both rosters in Garrison Matthews, who scored 44 points in the quarterfinal victory over NC State. 

CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 16:  Garrison Mathews #24 of the Lipscomb Bisons dribbles the ball during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament against the North Carolina Tar Heels at the Spectrum Center on March 16, 2018 in Charlotte, North
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Since the start of March, Matthews has hit the 20-point mark in five of the six games he's participated in at the Atlantic Sun tournament and NIT. 

If Matthews continues his terrific scoring form, the Bisons should once again overrun their opponent with their high-scoring offense.

In all but one of their victories since the start of February, the Bisons have eclipsed 80 points, and they've reached over 90 points three times in that span. 

Wichita State has hit the 80-point mark three times since February 1, and the Shockers haven't scored that many points since The American tournament semifinals against Temple. 

If the Shockers are able to force the Bisons into some low-percentage shots and can turn those misses into transition baskets, they may have a chance to advance to the final, but we see Lipscomb's scoring volume being too much for Gregg Marshall's team. 

                       

TCU over Texas

It's hard for any team to beat a rival three times in a single season, but that's what we're expecting TCU to do Tuesday. 

TCU won the last meeting with Texas by 13 points at the Erwin Center, and that was when the Longhorns had Jaxson Hayes available. 

Hayes will miss the NIT with a knee injury, per Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman, and that puts Shaka Smart's team at a disadvantage down low. 

With Dylan Osetkowski being Texas' top scoring threat in the paint, TCU can game-plan to stop him and force the Longhorns guards to score the majority of the team's points. 

The Horned Frogs can silence Osetkowski with the pair of Kouat Noi and JD Miller, who combined for 40 points and 12 rebounds against Creighton in the quarterfinals. 

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - MARCH 13:  Desmond Bane #1 of the TCU Horned Frogs celebrates with Kouat Noi #12 as the Horned Frogs defeat the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the first round game of the Big 12 Basketball Tournament at the Sprint Center on March 13
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

If Noi and Miller overwhelm the shorthanded Longhorns underneath the basket, it could be a long night for Texas. 

While TCU holds an advantage down low, the teams are evenly matched at guard, as Desmond Bane and Kerwin Roach are both expected to feature in starring roles. 

Bane scored 51 points against Texas in two games, and he recorded 34 points in their second meeting. 

Roach only played in the first regular-season contest between the two sides back on January 23 and recorded 15 points in that contest. 

If Roach is able to slow down Bane, the Longhorns stand a chance of keeping the game competitive, but unless both of TCU's big men go cold from the field, we see the Horned Frogs moving on to Thursday's title clash. 

                       

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.