The brackets have finally been released for the Preseason NIT.
Michigan, Kansas State, Pitt and Virginia will host the regionals, which will be held on November 12th and 13th. If seeds hold, Kansas State will be taking on Virginia while Michigan will be paired up with Pitt in the Final Four, to be held at Madison Square Garden. You can see the full bracket here.
The beauty of the Preseason NIT, however, is that it is truly a tournament. Unlike the Gazelle Group events — the 2K Sports Classic or the Legends Classic — if one of the host teams happens to lose, they are out. They won’t be heading to NYC.
And there is a real chance that at least one of those four teams loses in the first two rounds. How?:
– Michigan: The Wolverines may be one of the top teams in the country heading into next season, but Cleveland State will be a tough matchup for them in the second round. The Vikings lost some key players to graduation last season, but they bring back quite a bit of young talent — including potential star Anton Grady — and athleticism, which, when combined with their full-court pressure, could be enough to get Michigan out of a rhythm.
– Pitt: Assuming the Panthers get past Fordham in the first round, they are going to have a tough matchup on their hands regardless of who they end up playing. Robert Morris is an intra-city rival with a strong program that is consistently battling for NEC titles and returns six of their eight rotation players from last season. And Lehigh? Well, they bring back a load of talent, including CJ McCollum. Just as Duke what that group is capable of.
– Kansas State: The Wildcats are probably the second best team in this event, but they are also the most likely to get dropped prior to their trip to MSG. Why? Because of a potential second round date with North Texas. The Mean Green are loaded this season, especially if Jordan Williams and Chris Jones can stay eligible. Why? Because, in addition to talents like Alzee Williams, Justin Patton and Roger Franklin, UNT has Tony Mitchell on their roster. As in potential lottery pick Tony Mitchell.
– Virginia: The Cavaliers probably have the toughest first round matchup out of all the hosts as they get Fairfield in the first round. If the Cavs can get by the Stags, Delaware probably stands a better chance of pulling the upset than the Zack Rosen-less Penn Quakers. Devon Saddler is the player to know on the Blue Hens, but remember the name Jarvis Threatt.