The 2011 National invitation Tournament continues on Saturday, with the No. 1 seed Boston College Eagles hosting the No. 4 seed Northwestern Wildcats at Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, MA at 11:00 a.m. EDT.
Matchup: No. 1 Boston College (21-12) battles No. 4 seed Northwestern (19-13) in the second round of the 2011 National Invitation Tournament in Chestnut Hill, MA.
Date/Time: Saturday, March 19, 2011 - 11:00 a.m. EDT
Broadcast Information: Saturday morning's game between the Eagles and Wildcats will be broadcast nationally on ESPN. Lou Canellis and LaPhonso Ellis will serve as the broadcast team for the Worldwide Leader. The game will also be broadcast locally on the radio, with Jon Meterparel and Malcolm Huckaby serving as the play-by-play and color commentators, respectively, on 850 AM WEEI. In Chicago, the game will be broadcast on WGN 720 AM.
Location: Chestnut Hill, MA (8,606 capacity). The Silvio O. Conte Forum was opened in 1988 and currently serves as the home for the Boston College men's and women's basketball and hockey teams.
Series History: Boston College and Northwestern have met four times, with both teams winning two games. The last meeting was on December 23, 1998, and the Wildcats posted a 69-59 win over the Eagles.
Odds: The opening line lists Boston College as a four point favorite, but according to 5Dimes.com, the Eagles are a 4.5-point favorite.
Boston College In The NIT: The Eagles possess a 17-11 record in the NIT, having appeared in the tournament 11 times. BC cruised past McNeese State, 82-64, in the first round of the 2011 NIT on Tuesday in Lake Charles, Florida. The last time the Eagles appeared in the NIT was in 2003, and they were able to advance to the second round after defeating Fairfield in the opening round. However, BC fell to Temple in the second round. Boston College has never won an NIT title.
Northwestern In The NIT: The Wildcats have a 3-5 record in six appearances in the NIT, including this season. In the first round of the 2011 NIT, Northwestern defeated UW-Milwaukee, 70-61, in Evanston, Illinois. This marks the third straight appearance in the NIT for the Wildcats. Northwestern has never won an NIT championship title and has never advanced past the second round of the NIT.
Road To The NIT: Boston College started the season with ten wins in its first 12 games. Yet the Eagles' first loss during that period may have ultimately cost them their shot at an NCAA Tournament bid, with BC losing at home to Ivy League foes Yale (75-67). The Eagles went on to lose two of their next three against Rhode Island and Harvard before dropping seven of their next 12 games, all against ACC opponents. BC closed out the regular season with three straight wins before defeating Wake Forest in the first round of the 2011 ACC Tournament. The Eagles lost to Clemson in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament, ultimately costing them their chance at an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Northwestern burst out of the starting game, winning its first eight game before finally losing to St. John's, 85-69, on December 21st. The Wildcats then fell into a rough patch, losing seven of their next 12 games. Northwestern split its final eight games before beating Minnesota, 68-57, in the first round of the 2011 Big Ten Tournament. However, the Wildcats' NCAA tournament hopes came to an end in the quarterfinal round when they lost to No. 1 seed Ohio State, 67-61, in overtime.
Breaking Down Boston College (via Big Ten Network):
The Eagles lean on their offense to win basketball games. On offense, Boston College shoots the ball well, including 38.2 percent from distance and doesn't squander many possessions as it gives the ball away just 11.1 times per game. Always know where Reggie Jackson is on the court, as he's averaging 18.5 points and 4.5 assists per game this season for the Eagles.
Breaking Down Northwestern (via Big Ten Network):
A porous defense leads Northwestern to rely heavily on its talented offense to win games. When in the offensive half, the Wildcats are accurate from the field, hitting 37.8 percent from downtown and don't turn the ball over much averaging 9.9 turnovers per game. John Shurna is a key player for Northwestern, as he's averaging 16.8 points per game this season.
National Rankings: Boston College is not ranked in the AP Top 25 Poll or the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. The Eagles rank 94th in the nation in scoring (71.6 PPG), 66th in field goal percentage (45.9%), 34th in assists (15.2 APG) and 297th in team rebounding (32.2 RPG).
Northwestern is also not ranked in the AP Top 25 Poll as well as the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. The Wildcats are ranked 93rd in the country in scoring (71.6 PPG), 95th in field goal percentage (45.1%), 14th in assists (16.5 APG) and 333rd in rebounding (29.6 RPG).
2011 NIT SECOND ROUND GAMES (March 18-21)
March 18 Colorado defeats California, 89-72.
March 19 Northwestern at Boston College 11 a.m. ESPN
March 19 College of Charleston at Cleveland State 2 p.m. ESPNU
March 20 Wichita State at Virginia Tech 11 a.m. ESPN
March 20 Kent State at Fairfield 12:30 p.m. ESPNU
March 21 Missouri State at Miami (Fla.) 7 p.m. ESPN
March 21 New Mexico at Alabama 9 p.m. ESPN
March 21 Oklahoma State at Washington State 11:30 p.m. ESPN2