I mean, it’s not an inaccurate headline. Texas missed the NCAA Tournament and landed in the NIT as a 2 seed facing 7-seed South Dakota State. The Jackrabbits are #98 in KenPom and coached by TJ Otzelberger, who you may not remember but was one of the top assistants to Fred Hoiberg at Iowa State. They’re 24-8 but haven’t beaten anyone in the KenPom top 100 all season. They have a good offense but are pedestrian on defense; if Texas can contain Mike Daum - not an easy task, given he’s 9th in the all-time D-I scoring list - they should move onto the next round.
If Texas does get past the Jackrabbits, their next opponent would be the winner of Xavier (#64 KenPom, 18-15) and Toledo (#58 KenPom, 25-7). If I’m giving a personal preference, I’d rather face Xavier on account of Toledo being one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country. Speaking of three-point shooting, one of the main changes in the NIT is they use the FIBA three-point line. It’s about 15 inches further back than the NCAA line and hugs the sidelines a bit more, so players are going to have to be conscious of foot placement. I’ve long been an advocate of college moving back to this line so hopefully this experiment (which started last year) takes root and becomes the NCAA line sooner than later.
Texas plays on Tuesday, tip is 8 PM CT on ESPN.