Metro Area Postseason Preview

March 15th, 2010

Seven teams get to continue their seasons in postseason play; while the New York metropolitan area goes another year without a participant in the NCAA Tournament there's value in being able to play somewhere. Three schools will take part in the NIT with Seton Hall and Stony Brook hosting games while St. John's hits the road. Three other schools will play in the CBI and CIT tournaments (Quinnipiac added in for a full article), meaning that just under a third of the twenty-four schools will play in a postseason tournament. Below is a quick preview of each of those seven games along with picks. 

NIT Selections

Tuesday 9PM: Texas Tech at Seton Hall
Interesting times in South Orange with the dismissal of forward Robert Mitchell; various media outlets reported about his comments following the Notre Dame loss and the junior was soon no longer a member of the team. But the off-court issue needs to be placed on the back burner for the time being; the Pirates host a Texas Tech squad that can give them trouble if overlooked. John Roberson and Nick Okorie make up Pat Knight's solid backcourt while Mike Singletary has been productive on the wing. But do the Red Raiders have a player who can match up with Herb Pope? That's the one question that I'm not sure that Texas Tech has a suitable answer for. If Seton Hall can play fast while avoiding mystifying decisions/turnovers they will win. The Red Raiders have solid guards but none are as explosive offensively as Jeremy Hazell. Pirates by ten. 

Wednesday 7PM: Quinnipiac at Virginia Tech
This is a tough matchup for the Bobcats but a good opportunity nonetheless. Seth Greenberg will have his team ready to go despite the disappointment of not getting into the NCAA Tournament, and the Hokies are a very talented basketball team with some serious offensive weapons. Malcolm Delaney can get his shot whenever he wants and if Dorenzo Hudson plays they combine to make up one of deadlier perimeter tandems in the NIT. And if Jeff Allen shows up ready to dominate and avoids foul trouble Justin Rutty may have met his match. Rutty and James Feldeine will need to play superlative games in order for Tom Moore's team to have a shot in Blacksburg, and the supporting cast will need to come through as well. Hokies win by six, but they'll have to withstand a Quinnipiac push in order to do so. 

Wednesday 9PM: Illinois at Stony Brook
Going by seeding this game should be at Illinois but since Assembly Hall the Seawolves will host the biggest game in school history on the island. The Fighting Illini should be quite familiar given their double-overtime loss to Ohio State in the Big Ten semifinals on Saturday, but how motivated will they be to play this one? Bryan Dougher will be tested by one of the Big Ten's best point guards in Demetri McCamey, and forwards Mike Davis and Mike Tisdale have the ability to take advantage of the likes of Dallis Joyner and Tommy Brenton. The key for Stony Brook will be to make McCamey work for all that he gets and Muhammad El-Amin will need to do some serious scoring (more than 20 points). Tough game for Stony Brook but a huge opportunity to make some national noise. Illinois wins by nine. 

Wednesday 9PM: St. John's at Memphis
Anthony Mason Jr. returns to his hometown to take on the Tigers, who while they aren't as deep as the Red Storm have some solid offensive options who will test the St. John's defense. Elliot Williams and Wesley Witherspoon are two of the more versatile players that Norm Roberts' team will see this season and Doneal Mack has the ability to knock down shots from the perimeter. But if St. John's can make this a halfcourt game and utilize D.J. Kennedy, Paris Horne and Mason Jr. offensively a road win is a definite possibility. The Tigers are a much better offensive team and if they're allowed to push the tempo and find good looks it's going to be a long night for the visitors. Memphis wins by seven due to the Red Storm's struggles at times to get baskets. 

CBI Selections

Wednesday 7PM: IUPUI at Hofstra
The Pride will have their hands full with one of the nation's most underrated forward tandems in Robert Glenn and Alex Young, two players who possess the ability to go off on any given night. Glenn is more of an interior player while Young is shooting 39% from behind the arc this season. The Jaguars also average just under nine steals per game on the season. Hofstra has to take care of the basketball, a job that will fall upon the shoulders of Charles Jenkins, Chaz Williams and the rest of Tom Pecora's backcourt. The Pride actually average three more possessions per game than IUPUI but their defense is more than capable of slowing down the Jaguars. Greg Washington and Halil Kanacevic are two of the frontcourt players with the ability to control the boards for Hofstra. Look for the Pride to win by five.  

Wednesday 7PM: Duquesne at Princeton
This should make for an interesting game; Sydney Johnson's team will look to limit this game to a halfcourt affair, stressing execution and limiting the number of possessions for each team. Dan Mavraides and Douglas Davis will need to keep their foot on the proverbial break against Ron Everhart's Dukes, who would like to get this game going at a solid pace. Guards Melquan Boulding, B.J. Monteiro and Eric Evans all average at least 10 ppg and they will be a handful for Princeton. The Tigers are a better rebounding team and in some respects their defense is a byproduct of the pace. If they can run their offense for 35 seconds and force some quick shots on the other end the Tigers will control the game. Princeton wins by three. 

CIT Selections

Tuesday 7PM: Fairfield at George Mason
Ed Cooley's Stags get to build some momentum going into next season while also sending out their seniors on a good note when they take on George Mason in Fairfax. These two teams are relatively even outside of rebounding; Anthony Johnson will need significant help from the likes of Ryan Olander and Mike Evanovich if they're to beat the Patriots. Cam Long and Ryan Pearson lead the way for Jim Larranaga's squad and five players average at least 7.7 ppg. Derek Needham and Colin Nickerson will need to score some from the perimeter but this game is more than likely to come down to which team gets that important stop in the game's final minutes. George Mason puts the home court advantage to good use and knocks off the Stags by four.