As much of the nation prepares for this Saturday’s NCAA Tournament Final Four, we can’t forget that about that “other” tournament that is going on in the world of college basketball.
Yes, that’s the NIT Tournament and it too is down to its Final Four.
In the first of Tuesday night’s semifinal match-ups, the Baylor Bears will take on the BYU Cougars. The winner of this game will advance to play the winner of the second semifinal between Iowa and Maryland.
Watch to Watch For:
Baylor may have been a bigger disappointment than the Cougars in terms of missing the field of 68, simply because of their collapse late in conference play. The Bears, who were nationally ranked early on in the season, struggled down the stretch, virtually taking themselves out of consideration by the time the conference tournament rolled around.
Both teams however, find themselves two games away from a banner and at this point, there’s nothing more important. Keep an eye on Baylor point guard Pierre Jackson, who is averaging a nation’s best 11.7 assists per game in the postseason. BYU on the other hand, will need to find a way to slow down the interior game of the Bears to have any chance in this contest — that means watch for the production of BYU forward Brandon Davies.
The biggest test that Baylor faces is the daunting task of slowing down Tyler Haws in the back court. Haws is averaging 28.7 points per game in the NIT.
BYU can score and if Haws if doing his thing early and often in this one, then the Cougars will be a tough out. However, there is just too much fire power down low for the Bears and Jackson is still the most talented player in either back court.
During the regular season, Baylor defeated BYU by a final score of 79-64.
Tuesday Night Prediction- Baylor 74, BYU 65
Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS