Tag: Postseason NIT

2015 NIT Championship

Evansville, Stanford win postseason tournament titles


Thursday night two championships were determined, with the title games of the CIT and NIT being played. With Evansville winning the CIT and Stanford the Postseason NIT, the non-NCAA tournament portion of the 2014-15 schedule has been completed.

Marty Simmons’ Purple Aces became the second Missouri Valley Conference team to win a postseason event in as many days, with Loyola (IL) winning the CBI title on Wednesday, as they beat Northern Arizona 71-65 in Evansville. Egidijus Mockevicius led the way offensively for Evansville with 27 points and he also grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.

Guard D.J. Balentine, the team’s leading scorer on the season, chipped in with 16 points. Evansville shot just 1-for-10 from three but made up for that by scoring 20 points from the foul line, seven more than NAU. First team All-Big Sky selection Kris Yanku, who will be a junior next season, led Jack Murphy’s team with 18 points.

The Lumberjacks picked up the first postseason wins in school history in the CIT, and with Yanku leading the way they should once again be a factor in the Big Sky next season. As for Evansville they had just one senior this season, guard Jaylon Moore, and the returning depth and talent should mean good things for the Purple Aces in 2015-16.

As for the Postseason NIT, Stanford’s senior class of Anthony Brown, Stefan Nastic and Chasson Randle won the title as freshmen and Thursday night managed to do so as seniors. Randle scored 25 points to lead the Cardinal to a 68-66 overtime win over Miami at Madison Square Garden, earning MVP honors as a result.

Miami’s quest for the program’s first-ever postseason title fell short, as Sheldon McClellan was forced to double-clutch a corner three in the final seconds by the solid defending of Stanford’s Anthony Brown. McClellan led the Hurricanes with 17 points but did so on 5-for-16 shooting, with Davon Reed adding 16 points and Ja’Quan Newton ten. Stefan Nastic scored 11 points for Stanford before fouling out late in the second half.

Stanford has some key pieces to account for next season, as Brown, Randle and Nastic will all be out of eligibility. However they have some young talent, including guard Marcus Allen and forwards Rosco Allen, Michael Humphrey and Reid Travis, to work with this offseason.

As for Miami, Jim Larrañaga won’t lack for depth or talent in 2015-16. Miami didn’t have a senior on this year’s roster, and that includes two contributors in Angel Rodriguez and Tonye Jekiri who missed Thursday’s game due to injury. With that being the case, Miami should be able to earn the NCAA tournament bid they missed out on this season in what will be an incredibly tough ACC.

Trey Freeman’s banked-in three sends Old Dominion to NIT semifinals (VIDEO)

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While the NCAA tournament receives the lion’s share of the attention this time of year, the Postseason NIT’s had some good moments as well. One night after Miami and Stanford clinched their spots in next week’s semifinals at Madison Square Garden, Old Dominion did the same with a 72-69 win over Murray State.

The hero was guard Trey Freeman, who answered a Jarvis Moss game-tying three with a banked-in three a couple steps inside of half court after time expired. Freeman wasn’t even a sure bet to play in the game, as he was dealing with an ankle injury suffered in practice prior to the Monarchs’ second round win over Illinois State. Freeman finished Wednesday’s game with 25 points.

As a result of Freeman’s heroics Jeff Jones’ team, which was closer to the NCAA tournament bubble than many gave them credit for in the days leading up to Selection Sunday, is two wins away from capping their second season in Conference USA with a postseason tournament title.

As for Murray State, this is the second heartbreaking finish of the month for Steve Prohm’s team with the first coming on a Taylor Barnette three-pointer in the OVC title game. That shot sent Belmont to the NCAA tournament and ended the Racers’ hopes of going to the NCAA tournament. Freeman’s shot Wednesday night ended their season.

Old Dominion will take on Stanford Tuesday night in New York City.

Video credit: ESPN

‘First four out’ to receive one-seeds in Postseason NIT

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One of the biggest questions that gets asked in the immediate aftermath of the NCAA tournament bracket being announced is which teams were the ones closest to getting into the field. Of course with “bracketology” being what it is today, we tend to have a better idea of which teams those are, but the NCAA has decided to ensure that the four teams in question are rewarded in the Postseason NIT.

Wednesday afternoon the NCAA announced that the “first four out” of the NCAA tournament field will be the one-seeds in the Postseason NIT. With the first three rounds of the Postseason NIT being played on college campuses (the higher seeds host), those teams won’t have to leave campus before a possible trip to Madison Square Garden for the semifinals and title game.

“We think this is a natural progression to make, given that these are the last four teams under consideration for the NCAA tournament,” Dan Gavitt, NCAA vice president of men’s basketball championships, said in the release.

“They have earned the opportunity to be a number one seed in the NIT and play home games in their quest to make it to Madison Square Garden for the NIT championship. We believe this is an appropriate way to connect these two postseason tournaments.”

With the NCAA taking control of the NIT in 2005, efforts have been made to greater connect the two postseason events and Wednesday’s news is the latest step in that regard. Since 2012 the NCAA has released an overall seed list (tournament teams ranked 1 through 68) that includes the first four teams left out of the NCAA tournament.

This year’s Postseason NIT will also serve as a testing ground of sorts for two possible rules changes, with games using a 30-second shot clock and a block/charge arc of four feet (increased from three feet). The Division I men’s basketball rules committee will use the data from NIT and CBI games as part of the evaluation process when it comes to the possibility of making these changes permanent.