The latter half of the opening round of the NIT was played on Wednesday. Here's everything that went down, including a startling lack of upsets.
No. 1 SMU 68, No. 8 UC Irvine 54
Top-seeded SMU knocked off UC Irvine, looking like a team that may have deserved a bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Mustangs got 17 from center Cannen Cunningham, including 11 points in the final six minutes of the game. Larry Brown's team should be favored to win the NIT, as they beat Cincinnati, Memphis and UConn twice in the regular season.
No. 2 Georgia 63, No. 7 Vermont 56
Charles Mann had 25 second-half points for the Bulldogs, who glided past Vermont on Wednesday. The sophomore guard finished with 29 as Georgia destroyed the Catamounts one free throw at a time. Mann finished 12-13 from the stripe, while the Bulldogs as a team shot 24-26.
Vermont managed to force 22 Georgia turnovers, but just couldn't get the offense going. Sandro Carissimo led the team with 11 points.
No. 2 Illinois 66, No. 7 Boston 62
The Illini overcame a slow start to hold off Boston. Trailing by nine at the half, Rayvonte Rice scored 20 of his game-high 28 points after the break to secure the win. Rice finished 11-14 from the field and grabbed eight rebounds, tied with fellow Illini guard Malcolm Hill.
No. 2 California 77, No. 7 Utah Valley 64
Forward Richard Solomon sitting with a concussion wasn't enough to stop Cal, who rolled past Utah Valley. Five Golden Bears scored in double digits, led by David Kravish's 14. Cal is one of the most powerful teams in the NIT, holding wins over tournament teams Oregon, Colorado, Stanford and Arizona.
No. 3 Louisiana Tech 89, No. 6 Iona 88
Kenneth Smith scored a putback with under three seconds remaining to give Louisiana Tech the win. David Laury had given Iona the lead with a pair of free throws ten second prior, but a missed Alex Hamilton jumper led to the Smith rebound and game-winning bucket. Every Tech starter scored in double digits, as well as Kenyon McNeail off the bench.
No. 3 Southern Miss 66, No. 6 Toledo 59
The Golden Eagles muscled past Toledo, dominating the paint on Wednesday. Michael Craig had 16 points and nine rebounds, as Southern Miss outrebounded the Rockets 39-29. The Eagles held Toledo to just 19 first-half points, but lost the lead several times in the second half. But Craig scored six points in the final four minutes to seal the game for Southern Miss.
No. 5 LSU 71, No. 4 San Francisco 63
The Tigers' stacked frontcourt had a field day against San Francisco, with each of three starting forwards scoring 10+ points and grabbing six rebounds. Jarell Martin led LSU with 16 points on 7-11 shooting. The Tigers will play top-seeded SMU in the next round.