March 4, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; Illinois State Redbirds forward Jackie Carmichael (32) shoots against the Creighton Bluejays during the second half of the finals in the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament at the Scottrade Center. Creighton defeated Illinois State in overtime 83-79. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE

2012 NIT: Northwestern and Illinois State Both Miss Out On Quarterfinals

The Northwestern Wildcats and Illinois State Redbirds both got knocked out of the 2012 NIT before reaching Madison Square Garden.

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NIT Tournament 2012 Schedule And Bracket: NIT's Final Four Begins Tonight

We are down to four teams in the NIT and play resumes tonight. In the first game of the night, the third seeded Stanford Cardinal face the No. 5 UMass Minutemen. In the late game, Tubby Smith's sixth seeded Minnesota Golden Gophers will face off against Lorenzo Romar and the top seeded Washington Huskies. The two winners will meet on Thursday in the NIT title game, which has a 7:00 p.m. tip-off.

With the NCAA Tournament off until Saturday night, the NIT's version of the Final Four should still offer quality college basketball.

Tuesday, March 27

No. 5 UMass Minutemen vs. No. 3 Stanford Cardinal 7:00 p.m.

No. 1 Washington Huskies vs. No. 6 Minnesota Golden Gophers 9:00 p.m.

For more on the NIT, be sure to check out our NCAA basketball hub. A full bracket can be found here and be sure to check out our 2012 NCAA Tournament hub for more on the Big Dance.

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2012 NIT Tournament Schedule And Bracket: Final Four To Be Set Tonight

The UMass Minutemen and Washington Huskies advanced to the 2012 NIT Final Four with victories on Tuesday night, and tonight the bottom half of the bracket will decide which two teams will be joining them in New York City. Tonight's action features a group of teams that have scored upsets on their way to being a game away from Madison Square Garden.

The first match up features the Minnesota Golden Gophers, who were last seen rolling over the No. 2 seeded Miami Hurricanes, and the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, who upended the Tennessee Volunteers in Knoxville on Monday night. They'll be followed by a showdown between the Nevada Wolf Pack, who after defeating the fourth seeded Oral Roberts Golden Eagles took out the eighth seeded Bucknell Bison, and the Stanford Cardinal, who have had the easiest to the NIT's Elite Eight of the four.

Here's full schedule and TV info for tonight's games:

(6) Minneosta vs. (4) Middle Tennessee State, 6:00 p.m. CT, ESPN2

(5) Nevada vs. (3) Stanford, 8:00 p.m. CT, ESPN2

You can find a full NIT bracket here.

For more on the NIT, be sure to check out our NCAA basketball hub. A full bracket can be found here and be sure to check out our 2012 NCAA Tournament hub for more on the Big Dance.


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NIT 2012 Schedule And Bracket: Drexel Takes On UMass, Washington Meets Oregon On Tuesday

The 2012 NIT is down to eight teams -- the Washington Huskies, Oregon Ducks, Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders, Minnesota Golden Gophers, UMass Minutemen, Drexel Dragons, Nevada Wolf Pack and Stanford Cardinal -- and the action is heating up. Unfortunately, the Northwestern Wildcats and Illinois St. Redbirds couldn't hang around long enough to make a bigger impact on the tournament, but there is still plenty of exciting action to come in the NIT.

On Tuesday night, No. 3 Drexel takes on No. 5 UMass and No. 1 Washington has a matchup against No. 3 Oregon on the opposite side of the bracket. Here's the full schedule for Tuesday's action in the 2012 NIT Tournament.

No. 3 Drexel vs. No. 5 Massachusetts - 6:00 p.m. CT, ESPN/ESPN3
No. 1 Washington vs. No. 3 Oregon - 8:00 p.m. CT, ESPN/ESPN3

You can find a full NIT bracket here.

For more on the NIT, be sure to check out our NCAA basketball hub. A full bracket can be found here and be sure to check out our 2012 NCAA Tournament hub for more on the Big Dance.

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NIT 2012, Stanford Vs. Illinois State Recap: Redbirds Lose A 92-88 OT Thriller

The 2012 NIT Tournament has been filled with close games and drama, but the Illinois St. Redbirds will no longer be a part of the action. In the first round of the NIT, the Redbirds edged the Ole Miss Rebels in a 96-93 overtime slugfest, but in the second round they ran out of magic as the Stanford Cardinal claimed a 92-88 win in yet another overtime contest.

For such a close game, there were more than enough runs to swing the balance. Illinois St. ripped off a 21-5 stretch fueled by hot shooting from Tyler Brown (23 points on 7-10 shooting and 5-5 from beyond the arc) to take a double-digit lead in the second half, but Stanford used a 14-3 run of their own to tie the score and get a chance to win the game in regulation.

After Stanford missed that opportunity to win in regulation on a jumper from Chasson Randle (19 points on 6-14 shooting and 4-7 from three), they shifted the focus back to Aaron Bright and Dwight Powell in overtime. Both players had wonderful performances in the win. Bright led all scorers with 29 points and Powell added 18, but their efficiency is what made the difference. In combination, that duo shot 19-24 from the field (79.2 percent) and made the difference in the game.

It was a sad exit for Illinois St., as Jackie Carmichael (21 points, 12 rebounds), Tyler Brown (23 points) and Nic Moore (25 points) all played well enough to win under most circumstances, just not on this abnormal occasion.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For constant coverage of March Madness and NIT play, stay with SB Nation's NCAA basketball news hub.

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NIT 2012, Stanford Vs. Illinois State: Game Time, TV Schedule And More

Illinois State pulled off an upset over No. 2 seed Ole Miss in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament, and now the Redbirds will look to keep that momentum going with another road win. On Monday night, they'll face the Stanford Cardinal, who beat Cleveland State in the first round.

Related: Illinois State Vs. Ole Miss Final Score: Redbirds Win 96-93 In OT

In their upset over the Rebels, Illinois State made an incredible 17-23 three-point attempts. The Redbirds rely heavily on the three-point shot, so shooting a decent percentage from outside is obviously a key to another victory in the NIT.

Game Date & Time: Monday, March 19, 10:30 p.m. CT

TV: ESPN2

Full 2012 NIT bracket.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For constant coverage of March Madness and NIT play, stay with SB Nation's NCAA basketball news hub. And for more on Northwestern, visit Sippin' On Purple.

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2012 NIT TV Schedule For Round Two Games

The 2012 NIT Tournament ended for the No. 4 Northwestern Wildcats on Friday, as the No. 1 Washington Huskies grabbed a 76-55 victory despite 24 points, six rebounds, two assists, four steals and a block from John Shurna in his final game as Wildcat. Now the No. 7 Illinois St. Redbirds stand alone as the local team still in the mix.

On Saturday the (1) Seton Hall Pirates host the (4) UMass Minutemen at 10 a.m. on ESPN, but here's a complete look at the TV schedule for round two of the 2012 NIT Tournament:

Region 1
(7) Iowa Hawkeyes at No. 3 Oregon Ducks, Sunday, 4:00 p.m. on ESPNU

Region 2
(4) Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at (1) Tennessee Volunteers, Monday, 6:00 p.m. on ESPN
(6) Minnesota Golden Gophers at (2) Miami Hurricanes, Monday, 8:00 p.m. on ESPN

Region 3
(4) UMass Minutemen at (1) Seton Hall Pirates, Saturday, 10:00 a.m. on ESPN
(7) Northern Iowa Panthers at (3) Drexel Dragons, Sunday, 10:00 a.m. on ESPN

Region 4
(8) Bucknell Bison at (5) Nevada Wolfpack, Sunday 2:00 p.m. on ESPNU
(7) Illinois State Redbirds at (3) Stanford Cardinal, Monday, 10:30 p.m. on ESPN2

A complete 2012 NIT bracket is available here.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For constant coverage of March Madness and NIT play, stay with SB Nation's NCAA basketball news hub. And for more on Northwestern, visit Sippin' On Purple.

Check out the SB Nation Channel on YouTube

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Northwestern Vs. Washington Recap: Wildcats Season Ends With 76-55 Blowout Loss

And so ends the John Shurna era in Evanston. With the nation's eyes focused on the Big Dance, the Northwestern Wildcats fell to the Washington Huskies in Seattle by the score of 76-55, thus ending a season that was both a success and a failure. The 2011-2012 season was one of the most successful in Northwestern history, and the Wildcats might have been as close to an NCAA Tournament bid as they've been in school history, but being that close to a tournament birth will certainly leave a sour taste in mouths of both players and fans alike.

On Friday night, Shurna lived up to his billing as one of the best players in the country, scoring 24 points and adding in six points, two assists, four steals and a block, but that production was not matched by the supporting cast. Second leading scorer Alex Marcotullio scored 11 points, but he was one the only Wildcat besides Shurna in double-digits.

As has been their Achilles heel for most of the season, the Wildcats were outworked down low, getting dominated in the rebound category by an almost unfathomable 42-28 margin. Washington guard Terrence Ross led the Huskies with eight rebounds, but that paled in comparison to his 32 points, which included six made three pointers.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For constant coverage of March Madness, stay with SB Nation's NCAA basketball news hub. For more analysis on Northwestern, check out Sippin' On Purple. Washington Huskies talk can be found on UW Dawg Pound.


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Northwestern Vs. Washington: Huskies Lead 39-32 At Half

Last weekend, the Northwestern Wildcats had their hearts broken by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee. This weekend, they're 20 minutes away from having one of the best seasons in school history peter away with a whimper in Seattle. The Wildcats trail the Washington Huskies 39-32 at halftime of the team's second round game in the 2012 NIT.

The Wildcats were predictably led in the first half by star John Shurna, who put up 14 points and five rebounds on 4-5 shooting and 3-4 shooting from three point range. But that was equalled— in raw points, though not in efficiency— by Huskies guard Terrence Ross, who dropped in 15 points, albeit on 4-10 shooting from the field. But Washington guard C.J. Wilcox was able to add nine points off the bench, which alone tripled the entire output of Northwestern's back ups.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For constant coverage of March Madness, stay with SB Nation's NCAA basketball news hub. For more analysis on Northwestern, check out Sippin' On Purple. Washington Huskies talk can be found on UW Dawg Pound.

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NIT 2012, Washington Vs. Northwestern: Game Time, TV Schedule And More

The 2012 NIT has reached the second round, and the No. 4 Northwestern Wildcats have drawn a tough matchup against the No. 1 Washington Huskies on Friday. In the first round, the Cats used 23 points from John Shurna, 27 from Drew Crawford and 19 from JerShon Cobb to eek out a 76-74 victory over the feisty Akron Zips, and they will need big games from all three in the second round to keep their championship hopes alive.

Washington ranked 34th nationally in points per game this season (75.2) and fifth nationally in rebounds per game (40.3). They are led by freshman guard Tony Wroten and sophomore guard Terrance Ross, who average 16.7 and 15.3 points per game, respectively. Here is a look at the projected starting lineups, via SB Nation's Huskies blog, UW Dawg Pound.

Washington Northwestern
G - Abdul Gaddy G - Dave Sobolewski
G - Tony Wroten G - Reggie Hearn
G - Terrence Ross G - JerShon Cobb
F - Darnell Gant G/F - Drew Crawford
C - Aziz N'Diaye F - John Shurna

The winner of this game moves on to play the winner of Sunday's matchup between the No. 3 Oregon Ducks and the No. 7 Iowa Hawkeyes.

NIT Second Round: No. 4 Northwestern Wildcats Vs. No. 1 Washington Huskies

Date: Friday, March 16, 2012

Time: 7:00 PM CT

Location: Alaska Airlines Arena, Seattle, WA

TV: ESPNU: Roxy Bernstein and Mark Adams

Online Video Stream: ESPN3.com

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For constant coverage of March Madness, stay with SB Nation's NCAA basketball news hub. For more analysis on Northwestern, check out Sippin' On Purple. Washington Huskies talk can be found on UW Dawg Pound.

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NIT Tournament 2012 Schedule And Bracket Updated For Second Round Matchups

The second round of the 2012 NIT Tournament is set, and the Northwestern Wildcats and Illinois St. Redbirds are both still alive. the No. 4 Wildcats take on the top-seeded Washington Huskies on Friday night, while the No. 7 Redbirds turn their focus to the No. 3 Stanford Cardinal going into their Monday matchup. There are no games on Thursday night, but you can take a look at the lay of the land right here.

Favorites like Tennessee, Miami (FL), Seton Hall and Drexel are also still alive, while Arizona got bounced by Bucknell in the opening round. An updated bracket is included below if you would like to get a good handle on all of the second round matchups.

Nit_tournament_bracket_medium

For more on the NIT, be sure to check out our NCAA basketball hub. Also be sure to check out our 2012 NCAA Tournament hub for more on the Big Dance.

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Illinois State Vs. Ole Miss Final Score: Redbirds Win 96-93 In OT

The Illinois State Redbirds gave Creighton everything it could handle in the Missouri Valley Conference title game, nearly stealing a bid to the NCAA Tournament. Tonight against the Ole Miss Rebels in the first round of the NIT, the Redbirds proved the performance was no joke. Illinois State defeated the Rebels 96-93 in overtime to advance to the next round of the tournament on Wednesday night in Oxford, Mississippi.

Guard Tyler Brown did it all for ISU, scoring 26 points on 9-of-10 shooting from the field. Teammate Jon Ekey went 6-of-7 from the field in scoring 15 points. Guard Nic Moore came off the bench to go 6-of-6 from three-point range to score 24 points.

Guard Ladarius White scored 25 to lead the Rebels. Forward Terrance Henry added 21 points in the loss.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For constant coverage of March Madness, stay with SB Nation's NCAA basketball news hub.

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Valparaiso Vs. Miami Score Update: Hurricanes Lead 24-23 At Halftime

The Miami Hurricanes are leading 24-23 over the Valparaiso Crusaders at halftime in the first round of this year's NIT. In what's been an offensive struggle for both teams, neither team could muster up much offense in the first 20 minutes.

Early on, the Hurricanes took an 11-5 lead thanks to a trio of three-pointers. After that hot start, though, Miami would proceed to score just 13 points over the remaining 17 minutes of the half. Unfortunately for the Crusaders, they couldn't get much going on offense either, so they still trail despite the strong defense.

Valparaiso's Ryan Broekhoff leads all scorers so far with 10 points, but he's also just 3-of-10 shooting from the field and 1-of-6 shooting from three-point distance. No player for Miami has taken more than four shots in the first half in what's been a balanced attack and Rion Brown leads the way for the Hurricanes with six points.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For constant coverage of March Madness, stay with SB Nation's NCAA basketball news hub.

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NIT 2012, Miami Vs. Valparaiso: Game Time, TV Schedule And More

The Miami Hurricanes will be hosting the Valparaiso Crusaders on Wednesday night in a first round match-up at this year's NIT. The Hurricanes, a No. 2 seed, have a 19-12 record on the season after a year of mixed results on the ACC.

Valparaiso, a No. 7 seed, won the Horizon League regular season title but fell short in the postseason. Needing the automatic bid that comes along with winning the conference tournament in order to make the NCAA Tournament, the Crusaders lost to Detroit in the title game, 70-50.

Now, both teams are hoping to finish off their respective seasons positively. The winner of this game will go on to face the winner of Minnesota-La Salle in the second round.

Game date/time: Wednesday, March 14, 7:30 p.m. EST

Location: BankUnited Center, Coral Gables, Fla.

TV: ESPNU

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For constant coverage of March Madness, stay with SB Nation's NCAA basketball news hub.

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NIT 2012, Ole Miss Vs. Illinois State: Game Time, TV Schedule And More

The Illinois State Redbirds will be facing the Ole Miss Rebels on Wednesday as both teams begin play in this year's NIT. The Redbirds nearly landed an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament last week, but they lost in overtime to Creighton in the Missouri Valley Conference title game.

Now, Illinois State is hoping to end its season on high note with some success in the NIT. The Redbirds played extremely well in the conference tournament, beating a solid Northern Iowa team and a nationally ranked Wichita State team before falling short against Creighton, so they have some momentum going into this game.

Ole Miss, a No. 2 seed in the NIT, had an up-and-down year in the SEC. They ended the season with five wins in six games, though, including solid victories over Alabama and Tennessee.

Game date/time: Wednesday, March 14, 9:30 p.m. EST

Location: C.M. 'Tad' Smith Coliseum, Oxford, Miss.

TV: ESPNU

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For constant coverage of March Madness, stay with SB Nation's NCAA basketball news hub.

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Akron Vs. Northwestern Final Score: Wildcats Win 76-74 To Advance In NIT

The Northwestern Wildcats will be advancing to the next round of this year's NIT after a 76-74 victory over the Akron Zips in the tournament's first round. Akron had a chance to tie or win the game in the final seconds, but Alex Abreu's three-point shot at the buzzer failed to go in.

Northwestern led by as many as 15 points in the first half of Tuesday's game, but Akron battled back to the tie the game fairly early in the second half. From there, the two sides battled it out until the end, as John Shurna's three-point shot with roughly 90 seconds remaining would prove to be the game-winner.

Shurna had a huge game for the Wildcats, contributing 23 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists to the victory. Northwestern also got big numbers from Drew Crawford (27 points on 10-15 shooting) and JerShon Cobb (19 points on 8-of-10 shooting).

Zeke Marshall led Akron with 17 points and seven rebounds. Abreu struggled with his shot all night for the Zips, but he did tally ten assists.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For constant coverage of March Madness, stay with SB Nation's NCAA basketball news hub. And for more on Northwestern, visit Sippin' On Purple.

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Akron Vs. Northwestern Score Update: Wildcats Lead 42-34 At Halftime

The Northwestern Wildcats lead 42-34 over the Akron Zips in the first round of this year's NIT on Tuesday night. Drew Crawford has had a huge game for the Wildcats, who have led by as many as 15 points in the game.

The game was quite close early, but Northwestern pulled away a bit after Akron made a pair of baskets to tie the game at 10-10. From that point, the Wildcats would go on a 19-6 run to establish a solid lead. The Zips actually showed some life at the end of the half, though, scoring seven unanswered points in the final 75 seconds to make the deficit more manageable.

Crawford had a great first half for Northwestern, scoring 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting to easily lead all scorers. The Wildcats also got 11 points from JerShon Cobb and 10 points from John Shurna, but the rest of the team scored just two points. Quincy Diggs has come off the bench to lead Akron with nine points.

Brackets on the brain? Us too! Play Yahoo! Tourney Pick'em and be a part of the craziest month of college basketball. It is fun, easy, and free. The stakes are higher this year: compete for a chance to win $5 million in the Perfect Bracket and $10,000 in the BestBracket Sweepstakes.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For constant coverage of March Madness, stay with SB Nation's NCAA basketball news hub. And for more on Northwestern, visit Sippin' On Purple.

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2012 NIT Schedule And Bracket: Northwestern Begins Their March To The Championship

The 2012 NIT Tournament is set to begin on Tuesday night at various home sites across the country, and one of the highlighted matchups in Region 1 is a game between the No. 4 Northwestern Wildcats and No. 5 Akron Zips. For Northwestern, the challenge will be to stay focused after missing out on the 2012 NCAA Tournament for the umpteenth time (aka- forever). Then again, they are primed to do very well in the NIT if they managed to channel their frustration into inspired play.

SB Nation's Northwestern Blog, Sippin' On Purple broke down the field in the NIT, and thinks the Wildcats have a good chance to win the whole thing:

Let's look at Kenpom rankings for this region:

  1. Washington: 67
  2. Dayton: 64
  3. Oregon: 62
  4. Northwestern: 58
  5. Akron: 79
  6. LSU: 98
  7. Iowa: 87
  8. Texas-Arlington: 110

Yes, by what I consider the most accurate and valuable rankings system available in college hoops, Northwestern is the best team in its region, despite being a four-seed. Therefore, those rankings would select Northwestern as the likely winner in neutral court games. Sadly, these won't be neutral court games. Barring upsets, Northwestern will only get one home-court game, and therefore will have to win a game it won't be favored in by those rankings in either Washington, Oregon, or Dayton. (The Flyers open on the road so as not to conflict with the First Four, but I assume that will be over with by the time Northwestern would meet them in a hypothetical tournament quarterfinal.) The Wildcats also have a better Kenpom ranking than a second one-seed - Tennessee - and have beaten a third - Seton Hall - in a neutral site game. There's a lot of evenly matched teams in this tournament, and Northwestern is just as good as pretty much any of them.

Here's the full schedule of 2012 NIT Tournament first round games for Tuesday. All times are Central, and home teams host all games with the exception of Dayton.

Region 1

No. 2 Dayton Flyers at No. 7 Iowa Hawkeyes, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)

No. 4 Northwestern Wildcats vs. No. 5 Akron Zips, 8:00 p.m. (ESPN2)

No. 3 Oregon Ducks vs. No. 6 LSU Tigers, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)

No. 1 Washington Huskies vs. No. 8 Texas-Arlington Mavericks, 9:00 p.m. (ESPNU)

Region 2

No. 1 Tennessee Volunteers vs. No. 8 Savannah St. Tigers, 7:00 p.m. (ESPNU)

No. 4 Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders vs. No. 5 Marshall Thundering Herd, 8:15 p.m. (ESPN3)

Region 3

No. 4 Mississippi St. Bulldogs vs. No. 5 UMass Minutemen, 6:00 p.m. (ESPN2)

No. 1 Seton Hall Pirates vs. No. 8 Stony Brook Seawolves, 6:15 p.m. (ESPN3)

Region 4

No. 3 Stanford Cardinal vs. No. 6 Cleveland St. Vikings, 10:00 p.m. (ESPN2)

Brackets on the brain? Us too! Play Yahoo! Tourney Pick'em and be a part of the craziest month of college basketball. It is fun, easy, and free. The stakes are higher this year: compete for a chance to win $5 million in the Perfect Bracket and $10,000 in the BestBracket Sweepstakes.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For constant coverage of March Madness, stay with SB Nation's NCAA basketball news hub. And for more on Northwestern, visit Sippin' On Purple.

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