N.I.T. NCAA Basketball Tournament still matters

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At one time, the National Invitation Tournament was the most prestigious tournament in men’s college basketball.

But it has had second-class status for decades as the NCAA Tournament rules March and early April.

This year’s NIT tipped off Tuesday. The finals are scheduled for April 4. We will take a quick look at who we think will be in the finals at Madison Square Garden.

Home-court advantage at one time was the way to make money wagering on this tournament, but things have changed a little. Some teams come into the NIT on a down note, and just never seem to get up for a run in the NIT. So beware. Motivation remains a huge part in trying to handicap the NIT.

The top seeds are North Carolina-Greensboro, Alabama, Indiana and TCU. The No. 2 seeds are North Carolina State, Clemson, Texas and Creighton.

On the surface, Clemson looks to be a very tough out, they will be favored in all their games. Texas and Creighton also will be two teams that well be hard to knock out. 

North Carolina State could make some noise. But we never know what NC State team will show up. Xavier is a team that I think will go far. The Muskateers (18-15), who are a No. 3 seed and meet Toledo of the Mid-American Conference Wednesday in their opening-round game, are looking to make a splash. 

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