Early returns from Tuesday night’s first round of NIT action bode well for TCU’s opportunity to maximize its number of home games as the Horned Frogs (19-15) seek to qualify for a semifinals spot in New York once the 32-team field is whittled to four.
TCU, the No. 4 seed in its NIT quadrant, meets No. 5 seed Fresno State (20-12) at 7 p.m. tonight in Schollmaier Arena. A victory would secure a second-round meeting between the winner of tonight’s Iowa-South Dakota game in Iowa City, Iowa.
If the Hawkeyes (18-14) prevail as the No. 1 seed in the quadrant, a TCU victory would mean a second-round game for the Frogs in Iowa City. If South Dakota (22-11) pulls the upset as the No. 8 seed, a TCU victory would allow the Frogs to host the second-round game in Fort Worth because of tournament seeding.
Even better news for TCU: Richmond (No. 6 seed) and Oakland (No. 7 seed) pulled first-round upsets of Alabama and Clemson, respectively, in Tuesday night games. That eliminated the No. 2 seed (Clemson) and No. 3 seed (Alabama) from the Frogs’ quadrant.
If TCU can advance to the third round, the Frogs are guaranteed to play in Fort Worth for a winner-take-all game that would determine whether they earn a spot in the NIT semifinals, which begin March 28 in Madison Square Garden. If both TCU and South Dakota prevail in games tonight, the Horned Frogs would be assured of the opportunity to reach the semifinals in New York by playing three consecutive games in Schollmaier Arena.
Based on the NIT’s posted schedule, second-round games will be played by Monday night on campus sites of the participating teams.