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College Basketball Betting: NIT Quarterfinals Preview

The NIT quarterfinals are here. The teams that made their way to the NIT quarterfinals are clearly motivated. Lots of teams just don’t play with the same passion in the early rounds of the NIT because the pain of missing the NCAA Tournament is so acute.

However, the NIT quarterfinals are significant because the winners go to the semifinals at Madison Square Garden in New York.

College Basketball Betting: NIT Quarterfinals Preview
Sarah Stier/Getty Images/AFP

Getting a late-season trip to the big city is a treat for the players. In some ways, making New York is nearly as important as winning the NIT championship.

Expect all-out effort from every team left in the field. Let’s take a quick look at the four quarterfinals and the NCAA odds in each of the games.

Tuesday: Vanderbilt vs Xavier

Betting Odds: Xavier -3½

The Xavier Musketeers fired head coach Travis Steele and are playing for an interim coaching staff before Sean Miller returns to coach the team next season.

The fact that Xavier has moved smoothly through two games under the interim staff says a lot about the team’s togetherness.

Vanderbilt has won two home games in this tournament over Belmont and Dayton, but now the Commodores have to go on the road to Cincinnati.

Xavier probably merits a slight edge in the sportsbook here. The Musketeers just beat Florida from the SEC, and Florida is a better team than Vanderbilt.

Pick: Xavier Musketeers -3½

Tuesday: Saint Bonaventure vs Virginia

Betting Odds: Virginia -3½

This game has been the source of controversy. It’s not a huge controversy because it’s the NIT and not the NCAA Tournament.

This would be a firestorm if something like this happened in the NCAAs. The controversy is that Virginia is seeded lower at No. 6 compared to No. 5 for Saint Bonaventure.

Yet, the committee that seeds the NIT just came out and said that Virginia was actually higher on the internal seed list. Well, why did Virginia get seeded lower?

At any rate, the game is being played in Virginia, not in upstate New York. This should give Virginia an edge. However, Saint Bonaventure just won on the road at Oklahoma.

The Bonnies might be angry about this home-court snub. Take the Bonnies with your college basketball picks in a close one.

Pick: St. Bonaventure Bonnies +3½

Wednesday: Washington State vs BYU

Betting Odds: BYU -3

The Washington State Cougars led SMU by 19 at halftime on Sunday and won by 12. Washington State is playing its best basketball after losing a lot of close, tough games during the regular season.

In a battle of Cougars, Washington State is likely to be the team that plays with more motivation and fire. Washington State can use this NIT as a building block for next season.

This can be a springboard for them against a BYU team that started the season well in November and December, but fell off the pace in February and early March.

Pick: Washington State Cougars +3

Wednesday: Wake Forest vs Texas A&M

Betting Odds: Texas A&M -2½

The Texas A&M Aggies were arguably the biggest snub on NCAA Selection Sunday. They were left out of the field despite wins over Florida, Auburn and Arkansas in the SEC tournament.

A&M easily could have been deflated and dejected by that snub, but the Aggies rallied mentally and won the first two games of this tournament, the second one being an authoritative win over a very talented Oregon team.

Wake Forest has had a really good season under coach Steve Forbes, but A&M is more athletic and is playing at home. If you bet online, take A&M.

Pick: Texas A&M Aggies -2½

Here’s your chance to win $1,000,000. Shoot your shot in the BetUS March Madness Bracket Contest.

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