Home » Conference Notes » Currently Reading:

NIT Finals Preview

March 28, 2002 Conference Notes No Comments

NIT Finals Preview

by Phil Kasiecki

Tuesday night, the semifinals of the NIT were held at Madison Square Garden with two games that were as good as advertised. One came down to the final seconds, the other saw one team pull away in the closing minutes.

In the first game, Memphis got 32 points from DaJuan Wagner on a good shooting night (12 of 18 including 5 of 6 on three-pointers), but they needed to hold off the Temple Owls at the end to advance to the championship game with a 78-77 victory. The Tigers got a solid effort from Chris Massie as well (14 points and 13 rebounds, 10 offensive), while the Owls made it a close one without star point guard Lynn Greer. They had three chances in the final seconds, but each shot rolled off.

Both teams shot well from the field, they had just 10 turnovers each, but neither team did a good job of boxing out: the two teams combined for nearly as many offensive rebounds as defensive rebounds. Kevin Lyde and Ron Rollerson combined for just three defensive rebounds for the Owls, never a good sign for this team. Alex Wesby played a superb game, and Brian Polk played well, but the Owls just didn’t have enough.

The nightcap started with both teams wearing home white uniforms before Syracuse put on their road jerseys since South Carolina did not bring their road jerseys. In the end, the Gamecocks pulled away in the closing minutes for a 66-59 victory.

Aaron Lucas led a balanced attack for the Gamecocks, while Preston Shumpert not only struggled late after playing well for a while (he finished with 28 points), but he did not have much help, and that was the key. Kueth Duany had 15 points, but others did not support Shumpert as needed: DeShaun Williams had five points on 2 of 7 shooting and four turnovers, Hakim Warrick had four points and four rebounds in just 18 minutes after starring in their quarterfinal win, and James Thues had as many turnovers as assists. The Orangemen’s frontcourt did very little offensively, while Tony Kitchings and Ivan Howell were solid for the Gamecocks as they combined for 31 points and 18 rebounds.

The championship game will feature Memphis for the second straight season. The Tigers were thought by many to be one of the nation’s better teams back in the preseason, but few quality wins and a so-so finish led to their appearance in the NIT. The Gamecocks, on the other hand, had more modest preseason projections, as many figured they might be an NCAA bubble team and they lived up to that.

Both teams have made it this far playing well; neither has played an easy schedule and they have won by playing well, as opposed to getting opponents on bad nights for them. The Tigers certainly have a talent edge, but the Gamecocks have a slight experience edge. Both teams have had good backcourt play and have taken care of the ball to get this far, and their frontcourts have played well.

This is a tough game to call. If DaJuan Wagner has a good night shooting the ball, the inside game should open up for the Tigers more, but the Gamecocks are a good defensive team. Nonetheless, the Tigers got past a good defensive team in Temple in the semifinal and should have enough to take the NIT title home. Look for this to be a low-scoring, physical game, without a lot of transition basketball even though both teams are capable of playing that style.

Prediction: Memphis takes it in a close one, 68-65.

Comment on this Article:

Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Coaching Changes

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – February 22, 2018

February 22, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we start with floor issues in the Big East and an important NCAA ruling that was upheld. Then we go on to the Big 12, where Wednesday night had a new twist, as well as the ACC and how it shapes up along with no team going undefeated in conference play this year.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – February 7, 2018

February 7, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about a big sweep in the SEC, look back on the wild Saturday, then talk about a Big Ten showdown and some undefeated teams in conference play.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 31, 2018

January 31, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about a lot of what has happened in the ACC and SEC, including the Big 12/SEC Challenge, whether or not Kentucky is turning a corner, as well as the story at Michigan State.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 26, 2018

January 26, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about a wild night in the Big Ten, adversity and a quiet leader in the ACC, what to make of Kentucky and look ahead to the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 18, 2018

January 18, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about big road wins for a few teams, including a couple of bluebloods that looked destined for losses, as well as an unsettled Big Ten beyond one team, an SEC where you shouldn’t pay attention to bracketologists, and the problems with a proposed earlier start to the college basketball season.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.