There was one major vacancy filled yesterday in the coaching ranks. In what was a surprising move, Illinois announced that Brad Underwood will be their new head coach to replace the outgoing John Groce. Jamall Walker will continue to serve as interim head coach during the NIT for Illinois, but Underwood is expected to be in attendance for Illinois’s next game against Boise State on Monday.
As for the NIT, there was only one game that took place yesterday. Ole Miss officially put Syracuse out of their misery with an 85-80 win over the Orange in the Carrier Dome. Terence Davis led the Rebels with 30 points on 6-for-7 shooting behind the 3-point arc. They will finally get a home game in the NIT against the winner of the Georgia Tech-Belmont game to be played later today.
In the lone CIT game of the day, UMBC held off a late St. Francis rally and won 87-79 in their 2nd round game at home. The Retrievers’ 3rd round opponent and location will be determined in the near future.
Today, there will be three NIT 2nd round games to be played – both the CBI and CIT 2nd round action will resume tomorrow night.
(7) BELMONT at (6) GEORGIA TECH (12:00 PM, ESPN). While both of the winners were seed-line upsets earlier in the week, Georgia Tech did get the benefit of a home game against an Indiana team that passed on hosting their NIT opener. They will take on a Belmont team that has at least shown more willingness to extend their postseason – they beat Georgia on the road earlier in the week. The winner will play at Ole Miss for the right to advance to the NIT Final Four.
(4) TCU at (1) IOWA (5:00 PM, ESPN2). The Horned Frogs won their postseason debut under Jamie Dixon at home last week – they defeated Fresno State to advance to the 2nd round. Iowa was able to beat South Dakota at home in their opener and face a stiffer challenge today (at least on the defensive side of the ball).
(7) OAKLAND at (6) RICHMOND (7:30 PM, ESPNU). While we were denied a rematch of the College Football Playoff between Alabama and Clemson at this point in the NIT, both Oakland and Richmond proved themselves worthy of postseason with their respective wins at Clemson and at Alabama. The Spiders will play host to Oakland tonight and the winner will play the aforementioned Iowa-TCU winner for the 2nd spot into the NIT Final Four.