The NIT is obviously not a big deal on a national scale, but tonight’s championship game in Madison Square Garden at least FEELS like a Championship Game for these two teams. Both made real progress this season, achieving some level of success far sooner than either new coach could have dreamed. Both have solid foundations in place this year and will be looking for big things in 2017-2018 and tonight is the PERFECT springboard to bigger and better things yet to come.
It makes for a fun environment and a really interesting basketball game.
Of course, all games tend to me more interesting when we can cash in a winning play alongside the action. So let’s take a look at tonight’s NIT Final between the TCU Horned Frogs and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets to find a winning edge.
Today’s College Basketball Pick:
NIT CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs. TCU Horned Frogs -4.5
Jamie Dixon has had quite a month. They knocked off #1 ranked Kansas in the Big Twelve Quarterfinals, and despite a subsequent loss to Iowa State, haven’t really slowed down since. They absolutely laid waste to UCF and their vaunted defense in the second half of the semifinals en route to a comfortable 15 point win. Aside from a hard-fought and still impressive win at Iowa, they have won their last three games by double digits and seem to have put their seven-game February conference slide in the rear-view mirror. And it is important to remember, in the Big Twelve, almost every game is against an NCAA Tournament team, so losses aren’t always as bad as they may look on paper.
Meanwhile, Georgia Tech’s 8-10 mark in the ACC shouldn’t be devalued by the randomness of the NCAA Tournament. The ACC was still easily the best conference in the country this season and wins over North Carolina, Florida State and Notre Dame are impressive. So are wins @VCU, Pitt, Syracuse and Clemson. This is a legit club who probably makes the NCAA Tournament in a weaker league. They’ve won their four NIT games by an average margin of 12 points a game and have looked legitimately GOOD.
I think that good play spills over tonight into a well-played championship game. I’m a little surprised TCU is as strong a favorite as they are – I’d rate these teams pretty evenly. Both play in good leagues. Both have a lot of losses to really good teams, and both have a few impressive high-level wins. But GA Tech has a few MORE of those wins AND is getting a lot of points tonight on a neutral floor.
I’ll take the Jackets to do no worse than keep it close and cover for us tonight at MSG.
Today’s Pick: GEORGIA TECH YELLOW JACKETS +4.5