Wrapping Up The NIT First Round

March 20, 2008 – 6:36 pm by McD

Since it’s NCAA tournament time, we here at Rumors and Rants know what you really need for your basketball jones. No, it’s not Thursday and Friday off of work or a television in your cubicle. It’s a wrap-up of the first round of NIT games! OK, so you didn’t know that’s what you needed, but that’s how far ahead we’re thinking with this one. It’s better than actually watching the games during the off-days of the NCAA tournament.

Actually, Phillips, in his infinite wisdom, decided we should become the blogosphere’s one-stop-shop for all things NIT. Great idea. Then he gave me the assignment…naturally, I was thrilled.

Full disclosure: we’ve, uh, been “encouraged” by some of our friends in the gambling community to cover the NIT this season. It seems their take hasn’t been what it was in years past, so they’re trying to break even. So please read this, and consider laying some action on the second and third rounds this week and next week. Our thumbs will thank you later.

Region 1
(1) Ohio State 84, (8) UNC Asheville 66
Boy, I bet that felt good for Ohio State fan. One year removed from the National Championship game, and they’re playing UNC Asheville in the first round of the NIT. Actually, that feels good for Indiana fan. So very, very good.

(4) California 68, (5) New Mexico 66
I wonder if Steve Alford misses the Big Ten at all. At Iowa, he was the coach of a mediocre-to-good team that made the tournament even during some off-seasons. At New Mexico, he goes 24-9 and has to play a road game in the first round of the NIT. Nice career move, Steve. And no, your name isn’t coming up for the IU job opening.

(3) Dayton 66, (6) Cleveland State 57
Wouldn’t it be cool if, like, Dayton got to host the Play-In game once? That’d be like a home game, so the fans would be all excited, right? But then they’d realize it’s the play-in game and they’re screwed in the next round anyway. Talk about bittersweet. Anyway, whatever I just said is still better than the actual game here.

(2) Illinois State 61, (7) Utah State 57
If no one watches a game or knows it happens, does the game actually get played? I think I’m getting bitter.

Region 2
(1) Virginia Tech 94, (8) Morgan State 62
You know what sucks about the Virginia Tech – Morgan State game? It’s still not cool to make fun of Virginia Tech.

(4) Virginia Commonwealth 77, (5) UAB 80
UAB’s Robert Vaden became their all-time single-season scoring leader in this game. I really don’t miss him that much for this year’s IU team. Some say he’d bring some maturity to the team, but according to those who know him well, he actually wouldn’t. Plus, we don’t need one more freaking guy shooting random 3’s with 20 seconds left on the shot clock.

It’s also nice to see Mike Davis is getting his current team pretty much exactly where he was getting his previous team. Some things don’t change. I wonder if UAB is having issues with in-bounding the ball too.

(3) Nebraska 67, (6) UNC Charlotte 48
There’s actually a guy in this game named Jay-R Strowbridge. Jay-R? Seriously? I know I’ll sound like some big-government crazy, but we need a regulatory body for baby names in America. I don’t know if we’ve reached the crisis point yet, but we’re getting really close.

(2)Mississippi 83, (7) UC Santa Barbara 68
I’m going to channel Jim Rome, one of the most famous UCSB Gauchos in the country, to do the wrap-up for the game.

“Dear Jim,
The Gauchos got decapitated by Ole Miss. And we should know.

Ron and Nicole”

Clones, that is terrible. I will not read any more e-mails from “Ron and Nicole,” OK? They were brutally murdered and it’s not cool. It’s been 15 freaking years, clones. Move on.

“Dear Jim,
Luckily, the UCSB Gauchos already know who the real killers are.

The Juice”

Region 3
(1) Arizona State 64, (8) Alabama State 53
Who gives a crap about the game? I just want to see the ASU – er- Arizona State female fans. Oh, right. I’m obligated to say here that Arizona State MAY have been harshly excluded from the NCAA tournament despite deserving a bid. What? No, I didn’t put anything in your drink, baby.

(4) Southern Illinois 69, (5) Oklahoma State 53
Apparently, OSU was “visibly flustered” in SIU’s home gym. That’s it, I’m now officially pissed at Indiana. Suddenly Southern-freaking-Illinois has a great home atmosphere and we can’t even have a student section? Asses.

(3) Creighton 74, (6) Rhode Island 73
Some one said, “Dana Altman has to be happy with that win.” And I said “who?” But no, I’m sure not taking a major conference job isn’t in Coach Altman’s mind after barely beating Rhode Island in the NIT’s first round. Especially since Arkansas sucked this year but still made the NCAA tourney.

(2) Florida 73, (7) San Diego State 49
There’s nothing better than when a coach kicks his team out of its multi-million dollar practice facility as a motivational tool for the San Diego State game in the NIT. After the last two years, I’m sure Billy Donovan isn’t just a little underwhelmed with his current team. Then again, it could have been worse. He could have been stuck at Kentucky this season. Zing!

Region 4
(1) Syracuse 87, (8) Robert Morris 81
Nice work, Syracuse. First you flamed out in the Big East tourney and then you barely beat a team no one has heard of, allowing 81 points in the process. You think Boeheim wondered how some guy named Robert Morris made the NIT in the first place?

(4) Minnesota 58, (5) Maryland 68
I’m having trouble thinking of a coach that did less with the momentum from a national title than Gary Williams. Maryland is still struggling to stay on the bubble every season. It’s kind of sad, but it makes me feel a little better, as an Indiana fan. Then I remember how IU is currently doing and I’m back to carving “K.S.” into my arms.

(3) Florida State 60, (6) Akron 65
So Florida State lost to the team that couldn’t beat Kent State in th MAC title game. Nice. Did I mention that Kent only scored 10 points in the first half of their game against UNLV in that other tournament? And you thought it was just FSU football that’s a shambles. Silly.

(2) UMass 80, (7) Stephen F. Austin 60
This game was so good, the highlight video on espn.com says “UMass defeats Northern Arizona.” Sucks to be Stephen F. Austin just a little more tonight.

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