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Projecting the Tournament: NIT Edition

March 24, 2009  |  By Benjamin Miraski

Everyone has been down on the SEC this season, and for good reason. A bunch of mediocre teams, who failed to win even small games during the non-conference season, doesn't make for exciting basketball.

When you add in that the "normal" names failed to impress, no one was watching.

And no one is watching the SEC anymore, at least in the NCAA tournament. As the second weekend gets set to begin, all three teams from the South have already packed their gear away for the off-season.

But those fans might want to flip the channel from CBS to ESPN. The league that everyone though was way down has actually impressed in that other tournament, the NIT.

Of the eight teams remaining, three are from the SEC, and all three should be favored in their games to get to Madison Square Garden.

Imagine that. We aren't talking about three teams from the supposedly very deep Big East -- it could have happened. We aren't talking about Big XII. And we aren't talking about the little guys breaking through, although at least one of the Final Four spots will be taken by a team with a little chip on its shoulder.

Nope, this is the SEC that is running through what has actually been the more competitive tournament when you look at how fairly matched the teams have been.

As always, let's see what the computer says about who should be headed to MSG on March 31.

NIT Elite Eight:
San Diego State over St. Mary's -- 66.68%
Auburn over Baylor -- 72.30%
Kentucky over Notre Dame -- 54.05%
Florida over Penn State -- 91.83%

Expected Wins: ~3, so maybe look for that deep Big East to break through with the Fighting Irish stopping Kentucky from pulling the road upset.

The MRI Rankings are copyright 2009 by MRISports.com. Ben Miraski is a freelance reporter, edits and writes for MRISports.com and is a featured blogger on FanIQ. He also is the Northwestern Wildcats Examiner for Examiner.com. Readers can contact Ben at bmiraski@mrisports.com


Posted March 24, 2009 8:03 AM