The Men’s basketball team began their journey toward a National Invitational Tournament (NIT) championship Tuesday. As one of Joe Lunardi’s “first four teams out” of the NCAA tournament, they are certainly one of the favorites to advance to Madison Square Garden and compete for the NIT title.
The second-seeded Canes faced North Carolina Central in their opening game at home. They were favored and advanced to the second round, where they will play sixth-seed Alabama. Miami is 0-2 against Alabama. The losses came in December of 1968 and in the 2011 NIT.
Of course, when it comes to college basketball in March, there are no sure bets, so it is hard to predict who the Canes might play after the second round, but the other top seeds in their region are Richmond and UConn.
Many consider UConn to be the favorite in the region because of their successful run to the championship game in the American Conference Tournament last week and because of recent postseason success. The Huskies have experience on their side, as many players from last year’s national championship team remain.
However, the Canes have a stout defense in their arsenal, as they have only given up 63 points per game in the season. This bodes well for them in a tournament setting, where teams are required to win five straight games for the title.
Offense and shooting are prone to off nights, but defense rarely wavers. If their defense remains solid, and they can get steady production form multiple players on offense, the Canes have an excellent chance of being the last team standing in The Garden at the beginning of April.