Notre Dame & USC Lead 2018 NIT Field

Willie Bee

Monday, March 12, 2018 12:41 PM UTC

Monday, Mar. 12, 2018 12:41 PM UTC

A few experimental rules are being implemented in this year’s NIT, and they will affect how the NCAA basketball odds are calculated for the Field of 32.

It just wouldn’t feel like Selection Sunday without a few schools and their fans feeling left out and cheated. This year, however, the Selection Committee may have gone overboard with several head-scratching decisions for the Field of 68 in the NCAA Men’s Tournament.

What’s done is done, and maybe the best way to look at it going forward is the NCAA’s loss is the NIT’s gain after the National Invitation Tournament picked up the pieces Sunday evening to fill its Field of 32. Notre Dame, USC, Baylor and Saint Mary’s headline the list with No. 1 seeds for the event that culminates in Madison Square Garden in a couple of weeks. In addition to an impressive field of teams, the NIT is also trying out a few experiments this year that bettors need to take into account before playing the NCAA basketball odds.

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She's a beaut #NIT

— Courtney Cox (@coxcourtney) March 12, 2018

Deeper 3-Point Line, 10-Minute Quarters Part Of Changes

Among the changes are a deeper 3-point line and a wider free-throw lane. The 3-point line is moving back a little more than a foot to the FIBA standard (22 feet 1 3/4 inches), while the lane will mimic the NBA and FIBA distance of 16 feet (an increase of 4 feet). Games will be played in 10-minute quarters instead of 20-minute halves, and that is being accompanied by a change in non-shooting foul rules. Those fouls have been using the 1-&-1 system, but all fouls after the fifth by a team in each quarter will give the other side two free throws.

One other change has to do with the shot clock. Teams get the usual 30 seconds upon a change of possession, but the clock will reset to 20 seconds after an offensive rebound. Sportsbooks will no doubt take these changes into account when setting spreads and totals for each contest.

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WATCH LIVE: Andy Enfield addresses the media after the Trojans were not selected for the NCAA Tournament.

— USC Men's Basketball (@USC_Hoops) March 11, 2018

Pac-12 Places 5 Teams Into Event

One of the most difficult parts of handicapping NIT games is trying to determine which teams are actually happy to be part of the tourney, and which teams feel slighted by not being the NCAAs. Southern Cal head coach Andy Enfield didn’t mince words about his team’s disappointment after the Trojans finished second in the Pac-12 regular-season standings and made it to the conference championship game, only to be snubbed while teams behind them such as Arizona State and UCLA received invites to the Big Dance.

The Trojans are one of five Pac-12 teams playing in the NIT, joined by Washington, Utah, Stanford and Oregon. Notre Dame leads a trio from the ACC to make the field, Louisville and Boston College the others. The first three rounds will be played at the campus sites of the higher seed before moving to MSG for the semifinals (March 27) and championship (March 29). Make sure to check back over the next couple of weeks for free NCAA basketball picks.

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