NIT 2022: Updated Bracket, Schedule and Predictions Heading into Semifinals
By the end of this weekend, the NCAA men's basketball tournament field will be down to four teams. Meanwhile, the National Invitation Tournament already has its final four schools in place.
Texas A&M, Washington State, Xavier and St. Bonaventure are the teams heading to Madison Square Garden in New York City for the NIT semifinals, which will be taking place Tuesday. The winner of those matchups will advance to the championship game, set for Thursday.
Although the NIT isn't as prestigious as the NCAA tournament, it's still an honor for a team to cap its season by winning the event. And one of the four remaining schools will achieve the rare feat of ending a campaign with a postseason victory.
Here's everything you need to know heading into the 2022 NIT semifinals.
Tuesday, March 29
No. 2 Xavier vs. St. Bonaventure, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
No. 1 Texas A&M vs. No. 4 Washington State, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2
No. 2 Xavier vs. St. Bonaventure
Of the four remaining teams, St. Bonaventure is the only unseeded one remaining. The NIT seeds the top 16 teams in its 32-team field, while the other 16 are unseeded and get randomly placed throughout the bracket. That was the case for the Bonnies, who previously lost in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament.
Even though St. Bonaventure may not have been as successful during the regular season as some of the other NIT teams, it's been playing quite well since this tournament began. The Bonnies have taken down Colorado, Oklahoma and Virginia over the first three rounds, and it's not an easy task to win three straight road games against Power Five opponents.
If St. Bonaventure wants an opportunity to play for the NIT title, it will need to get past Xavier, a No. 2 seed in the tournament. The Musketeers played on their home court in each of the first three rounds, notching victories over Cleveland State, Florida and Vanderbilt.
Although Xavier is a solid team, St. Bonaventure is looking to prove it can keep beating bigger programs, and that may be providing added motivation in the NIT. That's why the Bonnies will continue their impressive run by beating the Musketeers and advancing to the championship game.
Over the first three rounds, St. Bonaventure has had a different leading scorer in each of its wins. It has a balanced, talented lineup anchored by senior guards Jalen Adaway (15.7 points per game) and Jaren Holmes (13.4).
The Bonnies have no trouble sharing the basketball, and they can lean on whichever players have hot hands on a given night. They'll do whatever it takes to take down Xavier, which had lost 10 of 14 games entering the NIT and won't be able to keep its recent momentum in the tournament going.
Prediction: St. Bonaventure wins
No. 1 Texas A&M vs. No. 4 Washington State
There's an argument to be made that Texas A&M should have been included in the NCAA tournament field. The Aggies may have been snubbed by the selection committee, considering they made a late push to try to play their way into March Madness.
In the SEC tournament, Texas A&M defeated Florida, Auburn and Arkansas on consecutive days to reach the championship game. Although the Aggies had a seven-game winning streak snapped by Tennessee in the tourney final, they proved they had moved past their midseason struggles and could beat the SEC's top teams.
Instead, Texas A&M ended up as a No. 1 seed in the NIT. And even though the Aggies weren't happy about their postseason destination, they've gotten right back on track by beating Alcorn State, Oregon and Wake Forest to reach the semifinals, where they'll face Washington State at Madison Square Garden.
"New York is where we need to be," Texas A&M senior guard Quenton Jackson said, per Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle. "New York is where we need to handle business."
If the Aggies are going to do that, they'll need to beat the Cougars, who beat Santa Clara at home before going on the road to defeat both SMU and BYU over the past two rounds. Washington State made a statement with its quarterfinal victory, a 77-58 win at BYU.
Still, Texas A&M is going to be the best team that Washington State has faced yet. And while this will likely be a competitive matchup, it's hard to imagine it not going in the Aggies' favor.
Expect Texas A&M to pull away late in the second half, as its talent and depth will be too much for Washington State. The Aggies will advance to the championship game and have a strong chance of capturing the NIT title.
Prediction: Texas A&M wins