The 2013 Preseason NIT is scheduled for Nov. 27 and Nov. 29 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Alabama, Arizona, Duke and Rutgers have been selected as the four regional host schools for pod play. Assuming they can all avoid early-season upsets at home, they will head to MSG for what should be two terrific days of basketball action.
Arizona and Duke will be on opposite sides of the bracket. It is unclear which schools will be facing one another in the semifinals, though it has been speculated that Arizona will face the Scarlet Knights and Duke will face 'Bama. The winners of these two games will meet on the 29th in the title game.
The Favorites: Arizona and Duke
It's tough to say which team will enter as the favorite in Madison Square Garden. Both teams are expected to begin the season ranked in the top-8 or so. The Wildcats may have the best starting lineup in the country, led by incoming freshman Aaron Gordon and the dynamic backcourt duo of T.J. McConnell and Nick Johnson. The Blue Devils bring in freshman Jabari Parker and transfer Rodney Hood, giving Coach K his most athletic team in years.
If these two basketball powerhouses meet up, get ready for fireworks.
Storylines To Watch:
Parker vs. Gordon
There's a pretty good chance that Jabari Parker and Aaron Gordon would've gone in the top 10 of last month's NBA Draft if they were eligible, if not No. 1 and No. 2 overall. Both players project to play the hybrid wing position in college, and there's a good chance they would be matched up on each other every minute they're on the court. This will be an NBA scout's dream.
Back in 2011, Duke earned a No. 1 seed for the NCAA Tournament and was considered one of the heavy favorites to cut down the nets. Arizona was a No. 5 seed. After escaping the first two rounds, the Wildcats and Blue Devils met up in Los Angeles for their first meeting since the 2001 National Championship, a game Duke won convincingly.
Arizona came out in the second half and completely dominated Coach K's Devils, advancing to the Elite 8 with a 93-77 win. If these two teams meet in November, redemption will be on the minds of Duke fans everywhere.