The road to the title for the Terps and Cavaliers just got a little bit easier.
Robert Morris forward Mike McFadden (1) and forward Keith Armstrong (45) celebrate with fans following a 59-57 win over Kentucky during a first-round NIT college basketball game on Tuesday, March 19, 2013, in Coraopolis, Pa.(AP Photo/Don Wright)
In what was probably the first ever first-round court storming at an NIT tournament, the Robert Morris Colonials upset the Kentucky Wildcats 59-57. It was Morris’ first NIT appearance since 2008, when they lost 87-81 to the Syracuse Orange. The Colonials went 24-10 on the season, winning the NEC regular season title. However, LIU Brooklyn would steal their tournament bid by winning the conference tournament last week.
The Terps already won their game tonight, defeating the Niagara Purple Eagles 86-70 in College Park. They will play the winner of the Ohio and Denver game, which is currently underway and up for grabs. In the perfect world, Maryland would face Denver, who is last in the NCAA in rebounding averaging 25 boards per game. But, they should be able to advance to the NIT’s Elite Eight regardless of the opponent.
The Cavaliers currently lead the Norfolk State Spartans midway through the second half, sitting with a comfortable 11-point margin. A win would keep Virginia in Charlottesville to take on the fifth-seeded St. John’s Red Storm. While the Cavaliers hold a four-seed advantage on the Red Storm, advancing to the Elite Eight will be no easy task.
It’s impossible for both schools to reach the NIT Final, as they’d be slated to face each other in the Final Four in the event that both schools got that far. But having the Kentucky Wildcats out of the picture as a potential Finals opponent certainly creates a larger opportunity for either school to bring home the trophy.