NIT Basketball Tournament 2011: Alabama, Washington State, Wichita State Head To Semis With Colorado

The Colorado Buffaloes head back to the NIT semis for the first time since 1991 and await the winner of Alabama-Miami.

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NIT 2011 Bracket Update: Colorado To Face Alabama; Wichita State, Washington State Also Headed To Semis

The Colorado Buffaloes now know their opponent in the semifinal round of the 2011 NIT Basketball Tournament. The No. 1 seed Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the No 2 seed Miami Hurricanes, 79-64, on Wednesday night to advance to the final matchup in the left bracket.

Trevor Releford led the Crimson Tide with 22 points, but there were key contributions from starters Tony Mitchell (16 points) and JaMychal Green (14 points) and off the bench from Senario Hillman (17 points). Mitchell pulled down a team-high nine rebounds, which Chris Hines matched as well. The team shot 34-of-55 from the field (54.5 percent). The Hurricanes were hurt by the 13 steals they were on the wrong end of in the game, as well as only distributing the ball for five assists. Durand Scott led the Hurricanes with 19 points.

The Wichita St. Shockers secured a spot in the semis with a victory over the Charleston Cougars, 82-75. The Shockers held off Andrew Goudelock in the second half when he scored 23 of his 31 points. Goudelock nailed seven three-pointers in the game to shrink a large deficit, but it proved to be too much overcome. Wichita State, meanwhile, had four of its five starters in double-digit points for 62 points and 20 points from its bench.

The Shockers will play the Washington State Cougar, who needed overtime to defeat Northwestern, 69-66. The game could have been won by Washington State in regulation had Abe Lodwick made either of his two free throws to break the 64-64 tie. Those attempts came about on a controversial call of whether the foul happened before or after the clock reached zero. The refs put 0.2 seconds back on the clock. In overtime, Northwestern couldn't make a shot (well, just one) and must now head home for the season.

Here is the semifinals schedule:

No. 4 Wichita State vs. No. 2 Washington State, March 29, 5:00 p.m. MT, ESPN2
No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 1 Colorado, March 29, 7:00 p.m. MT, ESPN2

The four teams will now head for Madison Square Garden in New York.

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NIT 2011 Update: Colorado Heads To Semis, Waits For Alabama-Miami (Fl.) Winner

On Tuesday night, the No. 1 seed Colorado Buffaloes defeated the Kent St. Golden Flashes, 81-74, for a trip to Madison Square Garden and a spot in the semifinals. It will be their first trip there since 1991 when they eventually took third place. But this time, they'll look for a better finish.

But in their way will stand either the No. 1 seed Alabama Crimson Tide or the No. 2 Miami Hurricanes. Those teams play the second of three NIT games on Tuesday night. The Crimson Tide is known for it's defense, as it averages just 66.7 offensive points--235th in the nation. They easily handled Coastal Carolina, 68-44, in their opening round game and then came away with a 74-67 victory over New Mexico in the second round. JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell lead the team with 15.5 points this season, but Green has a 7.9 -6.9 edge in rebounds.

Miami's offense stands 108th with 71.2 points and has averaged 83 points in their wins over Florida Atlantic and Missouri State. Junior guard Malcolm Grant is the team's leading scorer with 15.0 points this season, while Reggie Johnson averages just under a double-double with 11.9 points and 9.7 rebounds.

The tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. MT and the game can be seen on ESPN2.

Here is the schedule for the right side of the bracket:

No. 6 Charleston Cougars at No. 4 Wichita St. Shockers, March 23, 5:00 p.m. MT, ESPN2
No. 4 Northwestern Wildcats at No. 2 Washington St. Cougars, March 23, 9:00 p.m. MT

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NIT 2011 Bracket Update: Alec Burks, Colorado Beat Kent State, 81-74

The Colorado Buffaloes are going to Madison Square Garden and the NIT semifinals for the first time since 1991 following their 81-74 victory over the Kent St. Golden Flashes on Tuesday night. It was a much tougher second half as the Buffs were losing as late as five minutes left in the game. However, the Buffs went on a 15-7 run to end the game and pick up the victory.

Alec Burks finished with another 25-point game for the Buffs, as well as 10 rebounds, four assists and four steals. He was treated with IV fluids at halftime. Andre Roberson played a key role off the bench with his 13 points and 12 rebounds, a freshman who has been outstanding this entire season. Marcus Relphorde and Cory Higgins added 17 points and 13 points, respectively.

The Buffs didn't have much of an answer for Kent State's Justin Greene, who scored 20 points, grabbed seven boards and distributed the ball for six assists. He shot 9-of-13 from the line. Rodriquez Sherman had 12 points but also fouled out of the game late in the second half. Michael Porrini and Randal Holt scored 14 points and 11 points each.

In 1991, the Buffs played Oklahoma in the semifinals and lost, 88-78, but won the third-place game against Massachusetts, 98-91. This time they will face the winner of No. 1 Alabama-No. 2 Miami (Fl.) on March 29.

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