Alabama, a No. 1 seed in the 2011 NIT bracket, Wichita State and Washington State were all winners Wednesday night in the tournament's quarterfinals, earning them a spot in the semifinals of the NIT Championship, set to take place Tuesday night, in Madison Square Garden.
Wichita State was the first team to punch its ticket. The Shockers took a 12-point lead into the half and led by as much as 21 points in the second half but still needed to hold off a late rally from College of Charleston for the win, 82-75. Gabe Blair's 16 points paced Wichita State while Charleston was led by Andrew Goudelock, who scored a game-high 31 points.
Alabama took control early in their matchup with Miami, jumping out to a 17-6 lead that they built into a 24-10 advantage and never looked back, cruising to a 79-64 victory Wednesday night. The Crimson Tide, a bubble team that many thought were snubbed by the NCAA Tournament selection committee, was led by Trevor Releford's 22 points.
In the final game of the quarterfinals triple-header, Washington State got by Northwestern in overtime, 69-66, thanks in large part to the play of Klay Thompson, who scored 12 of his 17 points in the second half, including two big free throws in overtime.
With the win, the Cougars advance to the NIT Semifinals, where they will face Wichita State. Alabama will play Colorado, also a No. 1 seed, in the other semi, with a spot in the NIT championship game on the line.
2011 NIT Quarterfinals (March 22-23)
Colorado def. Kent State, 81-74
Wichita State def. Charleston, 82-75
Alabama def. Miami, 79-64
Washington St. def. Northwestern, 69-66 (OT)
2011 NIT Semifinals
March 29, Washington State vs. Wichita State, 7 p.m. ESPN2
March 29, Alabama vs. Colorado, 9 p.m. ESPN2
2011 NIT Championship Game
March 31, TBD, 7 p.m. ESPN2
Visit the NCAA's site for an official NIT bracket