We’ve reached the last eight in the other March basketball tournament.
The NIT is a different kind of March Madness, but they’re still going to keep score and it still matters to the players. So with that in mind, it’s not bad television on a Tuesday night you probably don’t have any plans for. We’ve reached the quarterfinal round, and it’s time to see which teams will make the cut to go to New York City.
Richmond at TCU (7 p.m., ESPN2)
The Horned Frogs are here thanks to a concerted offensive effort that featured balanced scoring and a gutsy performance in an overtime win over Iowa.
As a team, it was an incredible effort for a team that was missing a key starter. Despite not having Jaylen Fisher available (broken wrist), the Frogs were on fire offensively. They shot 50.7 percent from the field and were 10-for-24 from deep. TCU moved the ball well and assisted on 26 of 36 made field goals. In total, five separate players scored in double-figures for the Frogs.
In Jamie Dixon’s first year, TCU has gotten to a postseason tournament for only the second time since 2005. They haven’t been to the NCAA tournament since 1998, and if they ever want to do so consistently than a deep showing in March at any level of competition will be vital to program building. They’re two wins away from an NIT title.
Georgia Tech at Ole Miss (9 p.m., ESPN2)
The Rebels under Andy Kennedy haven’t been devoid of NCAA tournament berths, but under Kennedy they’ve been to two semifinals. So New York City is very much a destination, and an attainable one. But to get there they’ll have to get through Georgia Tech, which is this season’s surprise team. Former Memphis coach Josh Pastner had the Yellow Jackets at 19-15 this season and finished No. 11 in the conference. No, it’s not winning the league certain, but it is farther along than many felt the program would be after Year 1.