Akron will try to win its second-straight NIT game tonight. Despite that, this is still considered the first round of the NIT. Here is some reading material.
- Before you ask, No. 2-seeded Creighton is a Jesuit school in Omaha, Neb.
- Tom Gaffney, aka the best Zips beat reporter in years, wrote about how Creighton is ticked off about being snubbed from the NCAA Tournament, despite a 39 RPI. Now the Bluejays (19-9) say they are playing for their 20th win. I don't know how a team will be motivated by an arbitrary statistic, but whatever.
- As posted earlier, the Buchtelite's Mike Hixenbaugh wrote a preview/NIT column.
- The Plain Dealer wrote a brief on the game. Don't bother unless you're really bored sitting at work.
- The Omaha World-Herald reports that starting point guard Josh Dotzler's status will be a game-time decision. He partially tore a ligament in his right knee and hasn't played in a month. Dotzler is averaging 6.4 points and 4.2 assists per game.
- For scoring, Creighton relies on senior guard Johnnie Mathies (13.4 ppg) and junior center Anthony Tolliver (13.2 ppg). Tolliver, who is 6-foot-9, also pulls down 6.6 rebounds per game.
- Here is GoZips.com's preview. If you love stats, this is the place to go.
- Danny Sheridan says Akron is a 4.5-point underdog to Creighton.
- Other oddsmakers say Akron will lose by 5 or 5.5.
- I think the Zips will win. Creighton is good, but what are they really playing for? They are accustomed to the NCAA Tournament, much like Temple. An NIT berth is a failure for that program. Keith Dambrot's Zips will play just as hard as if it were the NCAA, just because it's been so long since Akron has been in the postseason.