Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, March 24, 2015 at 7:00 AM
And, then there were eight! Tuesday brings the start of the NIT quarterfinals. The final eight teams in this college basketball showcase will be battling to reach the Final Four that will be played early next week at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The power conferences are represented in Tuesday’s ESPN doubleheader. Miami of the ACC takes on Richmond of the Atlantic 10 in the opener (the top two seeds in their quarter of the bracket). That’s followed by Vanderbilt of the SEC visiting Stanford of the Pac 12. Stanford was the #2 seed in its quarter. Vandy is a surprise rising from the #5 spot to take the place of departed top seed Colorado State (a first round upset victim to South Dakota State).
Who’s going to Gotham? Let’s see what JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats have to say about tonight’s hopefuls.
Miami at Richmond (7 p.m. ET on ESPN)
Miami: #41 on offense, #106 on defense, #276 in pace
Richmond: #87 on offense, #47 on defense, #294 in pace
Miami couldn’t impress down the stretch as a bubble team…and has been helped by home court advantage so far in this event. You can see a problem right away. They prefer a slow halfcourt game, but have a soft defense. Good luck making that work in a power conference! That could be a big problem here vs. Richmond, who also likes a slow pace. But, the Spiders are inconsistent on offense, which means it’s far from a sure thing they’ll be able to work for great shots. Richmond has home court, the better stat composite, and the better defense. Will that be enough? They may still be worn out from the overtime win Sunday against Arizona State.
ATS Records: Miami 15-17-1, Richmond 15-14-2
No additional guidance there. Both teams are down money for the year once you factor in the vigorish. Miami was the slightly more overrated of the two. The Hurricanes couldn’t live up to the promise of their big early league win at Duke.
Vanderbilt at Stanford (9 p.m. on ESPN)
Vanderbilt: #20 on offense, #110 on defense, #227 in pace
Stanford: #29 on offense, #97 on defense, #132 in pace
This should be a lot of fun to watch. Both teams have top 30 offenses, but defenses that rank around #100 in the nation. Stanford prefers a faster than average pace, and will likely be able to force that issue on their home floor. Given that and the experimental reduced shot clock length in this event…Vandy/Stanford could be the most exciting matchup in the remaining brackets in terms of pure entertainment value. Think about the Over!
On the team side? Tough call here because the teams are so similar style-wise. Home court may matter more because Vandy is making such a long trip cross-country…after having already visited St. Mary’s in the first round. JIM HURLEY will be working very closely with his sources on this one to get a read on Vandy’s potential jet-lag. Soft defenses get even worse when the players are tired! Stanford is fresh as a daily with home wins over Cal-Davis and Rhode Island.
ATS Records: Vanderbilt 18-13, Stanford 15-18-1
Before you assume Stanford is automatic, note that Vandy has been the much more underrated of the two teams this season. Stanford has been overpriced, with occasional strong outings only tricking bettors the next few times out.
JIM HURLEY knows you want to keep your momentum going as you wait for the NCAA Tournament to resume. He’s been working with his full team of experts to find the right way to play both of Tuesday’s NIT matchups. And, there’s a six-game slate in the NBA as well that won’t go unnoticed. You can purchase the final word for Tuesday right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours. Be sure to ask about long term packages that include the NBA through the playoffs as well as Major League Baseball (which will be here before you know it!)
We’ll leave the NIT alone until next week’s Final Four. It’s back to the Big Dance Wednesday as we provide a sneak peak for Thursday. Here’s what’s coming up the next few days in the NOTEBOOK
Wednesday: Sneak Peak…Wisconsin vs. North Carolina
Thursday: NCAA Tournament Preview…Kentucky vs. West Virginia
Friday: NCAA Tournament Preview…Duke vs. Utah
Saturday: Best Elite Eight matchup
Sunday: Best Elite Eight matchup
You never want to assume the favorites are going to win automatically. But, if form does hold, Saturday’s preview will be Arizona vs. Wisconsin in the West regional, while Sunday’s preview would likely be Duke vs. Gonzaga in the South. Upsets could jumble those tentative plans very easily!
For now…keep building your Dance bankrolls with great stuff from the NIT. We’re still in the middle of WALL-TO-WALL BASKETBALL! Keep visiting for handicapping tips here in the NOTEBOOK, and hook up with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK for BIG JUICY WINNERS!
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