The NCAA Tournament takes a week-long break in preparation for the Sweet Sixteen, but if you're starved for college basketball action the NIT is usually a fun time. This year's field is particularly stacked due to a handful of head-scratching snubs from the big dance, so there should be plenty of quality basketball to go around.
One of the biggest Tournament snubs takes the court on Monday, when No. 1 Monmouth faces No. 4 George Washington. The Hawks are out to prove they belonged in the dance, and put away Bucknell 90-80 in the first round. They'll be facing No. 4 George Washington, which had a good run in the regular season but didn't do enough to earn a Tournament invitation.
The other No. 1 seed in action is South Carolina, which went 25-8 in the regular season, but a handful of bad losses and a poor non-conference schedule took them out of the at-large running. The Gamecocks take on No. 4 Georgia Tech, which was never really in the bubble picture but still boasts over Tournament teams in VCU, Virginia, Notre Dame and PIttsburgh. It's far from an easy matchup for South Carolina.
The nightcap game features No. 2 San Diego State against No. 3 Washington. The Aztecs dominated the Mountain West and seemed destined for their seventh straight Tournament appearance, but they suffered a devastating loss to Fresno State in the conference tournament final. The Huskies were one of the youngest squads in the Pac-12 but they look like a team on the rise, beating Tournament teams Colorado, USC and Texas in the regular season.
Monday's schedule (all times Eastern)
No. 1 Monmouth vs. No. 4 George Washington (4 p.m., ESPN)
No. 1 South Carolina vs. No. 4 Georgia Tech (6 p.m., ESPN)
No. 2 San Diego State vs. No. 3 Washington (8:30 p.m., ESPN2)
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