Over a third of the country picked Kentucky to win the NCAA championship last year. With a 7-deep roster of future NBA stars, the Wildcats were an easy pick.
But who had 3-seed Stanford winning the 2012 NIT? Identifying a team that outshines the rest is simple; picking the least mediocre team from a field of utter blandness requires true prognostication skill. Or dumb luck. Either way, if you like upsets, tragically flawed teams, and (occasionally) raucous home crowds, then the NIT does not disappoint.
So, what happened in the first round this year?
1-seed Kentucky and 2-seed Tennessee fell to mid-major opponents: In Tennessee’s defense, Mercer actually isn’t that bad. Yeah, the Bears are ranked 118th on KenPom and lost four games in the weak Atlantic Sun, but they beat fellow NIT schools Alabama and Florida State pretty handily in the regular season. Robert Morris? Not so much. The Colonials lost to the worst 16-seed in the tournament (LIU-Brooklyn) and their only decent win came ...