Wednesday's NIT Quarterfinals Preview

THE FINAL THREE TICKETS TO NEW YORK WILL BE STAMPED FOR NIT CONTENDERS

The NIT has to squeeze its games in before the NCAA Tournament returns on Thursday. That gives us THREE quarterfinals Wednesday to attack from a handicapping perspective. The organizers are already ecstatic at the variety of TV viewing regions and major conferences that are going to be involved. There shouldn't be anything fishy to worry about this year in terms of the "powers that be" wanting certain teams to get to New York. Great games tonight and great games next week!

We'll take the tripleheader in the order of starting times...

7 P.M. ET: IOWA (3) AT VIRGINIA (1)

COMPUTER RATINGS
Iowa: 26 in Sagarin, 23 in Pomeroy
Virginia: 36 in Sagarin, 25 in Pomeroy
Iowa (48 offense, 20 defense); Virginia (69 offense, 13 defense)

The computers were high on both teams this season compared to the rest of the country. We'll soon find out if that was justified, or if the programmers were just high! Jeff Sagarin of USA Today and college basketball guru Ken Pomeroy would say this was a #6-7 seed in the Big Dance facing a #7-9 seed. Is this Arizona vs. Notre Dame? Or, is it more like California vs. Boise State matching borderline Dance contenders?

The chess match shows that both teams are stronger on defense. If you respect the Big 10, then you're going to give Iowa the straight up nod here because of conference strength and their superior Power Ratings. If you believe home court advantage carries more weight in the NIT quarterfinals than at any other time because the host has established that they want to win, then you'll be picking Virginia.

HOW THEY GOT HERE
Iowa (-11) beat Indiana State 68-52
Iowa (-8.5) beat Stony Brook 75-63
Virginia (-16) beat Norfolk State 67-56
Virginia (-10) beat St. John's 68-50

We always give bonus respect to any team that's won at least one road game at this point in the proceedings. That's not in play here...as both teams were given favorable seeds against lower class opposition. It's odd to see a hunk of four poinstpreads that high right now. Sure, the first game is supposed to be easy. Neither team was projected to sweat either game.

JIM HURLEY is likely to have a pick here, so we're not going to get very specific. We can tell you that our selection swings on how we have these teams ranked in our own proprietary Power Rankings that are kept off the public radar to protect the Las Vegas betting lines for our clients.

 

8 P.M. ET: BYU (3) AT SOUTHERN MISS (1)

COMPUTER RATINGS
Brigham Young: 60 in Sagarin, 64 in Pomeroy
Southern Miss: 58 in Sagarin, 57 in Pomeroy
Brigham Young (50 offense, 91 defense); Southern Miss (36 offense, 88 defense)

Interesting that Southern Miss ranks way behind Iowa and Virginia in the computer ratings...but they were a bubble team in the Dance that still earned a #1 seed here. Clearly there are alternative ways of ranking teams that give Southern Miss more respect. Though, given how shaky Memphis looked in a close win over St. Mary's and a bad loss to Michigan State...it's hard to take Southern Miss from the same conference seriously as a strong threat.

We have a reversal from the first game in the chess match elements. Here both teams are much better on offense than on defense. That creates a decent Over possibility...particularly if a late free throw parade is in the offing or overtime. Once again, we can't tip our hand about a team side pick. We can tell you that we'll be looking to fade the winner next week based on those poor defensive rankings. It's very hard to sweep the board in a playoff atmosphere with a poor defense. These teams are lucky they drew each other in the quarterfinals.

HOW THEY GOT HERE
Brigham Young (-6) beat Washington 90-79
Brigham Young (-7) beat Mercer 90-71
Southern Miss (-11) beat Charleston Southern 78-71
Southern Miss (-6) beat Louisiana Tech 63-52

Workmanlike job from both teams, who drew tougher schedules than Iowa and Virginia. Well, Mercer wasn't seeded as a toughie. Tennessee and Florida-Gulf Coast will tell you otherwise. Be sure you check out BYU's road results this year before making a final decision on the game.

 

9 P.M. ET: PROVIDENCE (4) AT BAYLOR (2)

COMPUTER RATINGS
Providence: 68 in Sagarin, 68 in Pomeroy
Baylor: 34 in Sagarin, 37 in Pomeroy
Providence (78 offense, 71 defense); Baylor (24 offense, 77 defense)

The computers give a big edge to Baylor here. But, the computers were embarrassingly off-base in the Big Dance when it came to Oklahoma State, Kansas State, and Oklahoma. So, it's possible that Baylor is "really" down around #68 with Providence. Yes, if they shoot great the way Iowa State did against Ohio State, this Big 12 team can play with anybody. They did crush Kansas after all. But, there also exploitable weaknesses with the Bears...as you can see with that defensive rating.

HOW THEY GOT HERE
Providence (-9) beat Charleston 75-66
Providence (-7) beat Robert Morris 77-68
Baylor (-12) beat Long Beach State 112-66
Baylor (-8) beat Arizona State 89-86

Providence drew a break when Robert Morris took out Kentucky. Then, the Friars had to sweat Robert Morris up until the final minutes when they pulled away. Baylor threw a big party when Long Beach came to visit. They almost got stunned by Arizona State though because they hadn't recovered from the hangover. Those two Baylor results sum up the inconsistency of this team very well. They sizzle when the shots are falling. They sometimes forget to guard people too. Tricky game!

JIM HURLEY will make sure his clients get the best from tonight's NIT Tripleheader. But, it's also a HUGE night in the NBA. All of these games are under consideration for serious play...

Wednesday in the NBA
Miami at Chicago (will the streak continue?)
Memphis at New York (both positioning for seeds)
Denver at San Antonio (playoff preview?)
LA Lakers at Minnesota (must-win for Kobe and Company!)
Phoenix at Utah (Jazz chasing Lakers)

You can always purchase our BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. Wednesday is a great time to get back in the swing of things so you can build some more bankroll before the Sweet 16 tips off Thursday Night. If you have any questions about this week, or long term service that would take you through the NBA playoffs, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453.

Back with you tomorrow with an in-depth preview of Syracuse-Indiana. We've talked a lot about both teams this year, without any idea that they would draw each other on the big stage! Will Indiana be ready for the Syracuse zone? Was Indiana exposed as overrated in recent outings with their outright loss to Wisconsin (who disappointed in the Dance) and their near-miss survival against Temple?

Friday well look at Michigan State vs. Duke, as the Big 10 continues to be the defining conference of the college basketball season. Is that about to end with Indiana, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Michigan facing such tough tests in the coming hours?

You have questions...JIM HURLEY IS THE MAN WITH THE ANSWERS! Link up online or call in the office for BIG, JUICY, BASKETBALL WINNERS!

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