NIT Redux: The NIT resumed college basketball action after everyone took a day off to breathe following the closing weekend of conference tournament madness. The eight opening round games featured four match ups between No. 7 vs. No. 8 seeds and No. 9 vs. No. 10 seeds.
No. 9 Manhattan, an automatic NIT qualifier from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, held off No. 10 Fairleigh Dickinson of the Northeast Conference 80-77 to advance to the first round at No. 1 Maryland.
Also in Maryland’s regional bracket, No. 8 Rutgers upset No. 7 Penn State, two NIT at-large squads, in State College 76-71. Rutgers’ scoring dynamo, Quincy Douby, torched the Nittany Lions with 32 points. The Scarlet Knights advance to play No. 2 Saint Joseph’s.
No. 9 UTEP, one of the last at-large schools, slammed No. 10 Lipscomb, the Atlantic Sun’s regular-season champ, 85-66 behind Jason Williams’ triple double. Williams had 17 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists to lead the Miners into the first round against No. 1 Michigan.
No. 8 Akron, an at-large qualifier out of the Mid-American Conference, beat the Atlantic 10’s No. 7 Temple 80-73 in overtime, ending the legendary career of Temple coach John Chaney, who missed the game to be with his wife who needed a procedure to treat a medical problem. In the game, the Owls’ star Mardy Collins also needed medical attention after he fell hard to the court on a layup. After 20 minutes, trainers carried Collins off the court on a stretcher and took him to Temple University Hospital, where his status was announced to be fair. The Zips advance to the first round to play. No. 2 Creighton.
No. 8 Butler, a Horizon League at-large squad, beat the MAC’s other at-large squad, No. 7 Miami, Ohio, 53-52 on a last-second tip in. The Bulldogs advance to the first round to play No. 2 Florida State.
No. 9 Charlotte, one of the last two at-large squads to make the field, slammed the Southern Conference’s regular-season winner, No. 10 Georgia Southern, 77-61 thanks to Curtis Withers’ 20 points and 16 rebonds. The 49ers will play No. 1 Cincinnati in the first round.
No. 7 Stanford dominated No. 8 Virginia from beginning to end, winning 65-49 as the Cardinal’s three senior starters combined for 36 points. The Cardinal move on to play No. 2 Missouri State in the first round.
And finally, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s No. 10 Delaware State suffocated No. 9 Northern Arizona on the Lumberjacks’ home court to claim a 58-53 win and a trip into the first round against No. 1 Louisville. [3/15/06]