N.I.T. Quarterfinals Preview
NIGHT TWO OF THE NIT QUARTERFINALS: LOUISIANA TECH/FLORIDA STATE, CALIFORNIA/SMU
Night two of the NIT quarterfinals features tourney top seed SMU trying to continue its reign of revenge, while Florida State tries to keep the ACC relevant in a postseason marred by disappointments. Those home favorites will be taking on California and Louisiana Tech respectively in a pair of games that will both be televised nationally by ESPN.
Win tonight…and you’re off to New York for next week’s Final Four, joining Tuesday Night’s winners in a Big Apple basketball celebration. As we did in yesterday’s NOTEBOOK, we’re going to preview BOTH matchups with computer information gleaned from college basketball guru Ken Pomeroy and USA Today computer whiz Jeff Sagarin. We’ll take the games in tipoff order, starting in Tallahassee.
Computer Rankings-Game One
Louisiana Tech: #35 in Pomeroy, #33 in Sagarin
Florida State: #38 in Pomeroy, #40 in Sagarin
Computer Rankings-Game Two
California: #66 in Pomeroy, #56 in Sagarin
SMU: #29 in Pomeroy, #31 in Sagarin
Looks like Louisiana Tech/Florida State is a computer toss-up. The margin for error is so slight when teams are so close together that they might as well be the same team. Of course, Florida State is playing at home as the top seed in their quarter of the draw. The market is giving them consideration or that. SMU is the top seed for the whole tournament, and enjoys what looks to be a healthy computer edge over the Cal Bears. Handicappers will have to determine if SMU is properly rated, or if Cal may be a bit underrated given the Dance success of Pac 12 cohorts Arizona, UCLA, and Stanford.
Offensive and Defensive Rank Game One
Louisiana Tech: #81 on offense, #25 on defense
Florida State: #46 on offense, #57 on defense
Offensive and Defensive Rank Game Two
California: #85 on offense, #72 on defense
SMU: #89 on offense, #11 on defense
Pomeroy adjusts points per game statistics for the number of possessions and the strength of schedule. The best defense of the foursome belongs to SMU. Defense is always huge in tournaments! Louisiana Tech is a sleeper defensively though, don’t sleep on them. California has the worst defense of the group. Note that we have fairly disappointing offensive ratings for the group. Most of the offenses you’ll see later this week in the Sweet 16 of the Big Dance are better than 80-ish. SMU has the most disappointing rating of the offenses, which may come back to haunt them at some point in the NIT if not tonight.
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Louisiana Tech: #18
Florida State: #144
Louisiana Tech is a run-and-gun circus, which has helped hide the quality of their per-possession defense from the media and oddsmakers. The other teams are lumped fairly close to the national average. FSU is a bit faster than average, which may surprise some of you.
Against the Spread
Louisiana Tech: 17-12
Florida State: 18-14
Three of the four teams have been money-makers this year. We’ve already talked a few times about what a great story SMU has been under Larry Brown. Winners know how to win! But, can he seal the deal in this tournament? He and SMU will be facing overrated (by market standards) California before running into opposition more likely to derail championship hopes. Again, Louisiana Tech grades out well here. Time will tell if they’re the kind of team that thrives in a mid-major but wilts when stepping up in class.
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Here’s the NOTEBOOK schedule for the rest of the week:
Thursday: Florida vs. UCLA (best of Thursday’s Sweet 16 matchups)
Friday: Louisville vs. Kentucky (most anticipated of Friday’s Sweet 16 matchups)
Saturday: Elite Eight Doubleheader (using today’s double-up format)
Sunday: Elite Eight Doubleheader (using today’s double-up format)
Keep visiting this website every day for great information. Both the NCAA and NIT will be crowning champions in very short order. When championships are on the line, YOU NEED WORLD CHAMPION HANDICAPPER JIM HURLEY!
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