The University of Massachusetts Minutemen and the Drexel Dragons meet tonight in the first of the NIT Semi-Final matchups. Which of these two teams are we expecting to book a ticket to the NIT finals?
quarterfinals of the NIT are set to tip off this evening, as the University of
Massachusetts squares off with Drexel. Drexel is a three seed and will host
this quarterfinals game, after knocking out both UCF and Northern Iowa in the
first two rounds. UMass on the other hand, knocked out number one seeded Seton
Hall in the second round 77-67, after beating Mississippi State in the first
NCAA Basketball odds makers had opened with Drexel listed as a 6/6 point favorite, but early sports betting action has lowered that number to 6 at most college basketball betting shops. The matchup's total has just been set at 141
game’s winner will win a trip to New York to play in the semi finals from
Madison Square Garden. Which side of this NIT
quarterfinal game do you want to be on when it comes time to place your NCAA basketball picks?
joined the ever-growing group of snubbed mid-majors that had great seasons and
didn’t get invited to the big dance this year. They lost in the CAA finals to
VCU, and despite having a 29-6 record and a 16-2 conference record, were not
sent an invite to the NCAA tournament. I’ll save you from my great mid-major
team versus average big conference team rant, and simply say that Drexel they
got snubbed. I could write a whole other article on that topic.
Dragons have a chip on their shoulder and are looking to make a statement in
the NIT. This is the same team that won 19 games in a row and 25 out of 26
games during the regular season and CAA tournament before losing to VCU in the
conference championship game. Needless to say, that would have made for a great
NCAA tournament story.
Minutemen were another team that got beat by an eventual NCAA tournament team,
when they lost to St. Bonaventure in the semi finals of the A-10 conference
tournament. The Bonnies would go on to win the A-10 in the finals over Xavier,
before losing to Florida State in the first round of the NCAAs.
UMass wasn’t quite a tournament snub, they did have a solid season in a tougher
then normal Atlantic 10 conference, and have a shot tonight at making up for
losing in the semis of their conference tournament. This is a team that was a
top 25 team in the country in points per game, rebounds and assists. If you
can’t tell already, this game should be a pretty nice one.
The Sharp Pick
though Drexel carries a bigger chip on their shoulder then UMass I like the
Minutemen to keep this game close until the end and cover the +6.5. I normally
don’t like tailing the public in this situation, but in this case, Umass and
Drexel do match up with one another quite well.
I still like the Dragons to win
the game and advance to Madison Square Garden, but I think the outstanding
point guard play of sophomore Chaz Williams of Umass will be key in them
covering the spread here tonight. UMass played a tough schedule over the year,
and that will prove to be the turning point in this game. Take the points with the Minutemen.