As is the case with all of these “other tournaments,” predicting the NIT bracket can be incredibly difficult. The field is littered with teams that are heartbroken (Vermont), bitter (St. Mary’s), and unmotivated (Louisville). You also have teams dealing with rumored coaching changes (MTSU).
Also, keep in mind that these NIT games will have new rules, featuring four quarters rather than two halves, a deeper 3-point line and a wider lane. While I like these rules going forward, they shouldn’t have as noticeable of an effect on the games as the 30-second shot clock did a few years ago in the NIT.
Let’s take a look at the following three Tuesday NIT matchups to determine if we can find any value in a volatile field.
- Northern Kentucky at Louisville -8 (7 p.m. ET on ESPN)
- Boston College at Western Kentucky -5 (8 p.m. ET on ESPN3)
- Vermont at Middle Tennessee State -6 (8 p.m. ET on ESPNU)
I will also take a look at the following CBI game that could feature a massive mismatch in motivation and on paper.
- Eastern Washington at Utah Valley -7.5 (9 p.m. ET)
Follow me on twitter @jorcubsdan for in-game analysis, injury updates (always unexpected injuries this time of year in the lower-level tournaments), and second half predictions. I pulled all lines from 5Dimes at the time of writing.
Northern Kentucky at Louisville (-8)
7 p.m. ET on ESPN
Louisville represents perhaps the most transparent case of unmotivated players I’ve seen in the NIT in years. From the excellent Jeff Greer at the Louisville Courier Journal: