First, the news:
Xavier MBB made it official today. The Musketeers will play in the NIT Season Tip-Off at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Wednesday, November 24 and Friday, November 26, joining Iowa State, Virginia Tech and Memphis.— Adam Baum (@AdamJBaum) May 20, 2021
We know you've known for a while now, but now it's technically official. Xavier will be playing the day before and the day after Thanksgiving in a four-team event against a couple of other high-majors and also Memphis.
Speaking of Memphis, they're actually rated the highest of any team in the field in Bart Torvik's 2022 preseason rankings. After having the top defense in the nation last year en route to earning an NIT bid, they bring back three of their four most efficient players and - under recruiting maestro and sometimes coach Penny Hardaway - have reloaded with talent.
While Memphis will be the headliner of the event, Virginia Tech seems poised to offer strong opposition. They return almost three-quarters of the minutes from a team that earned a 10 seed in last year's tournament and took Florida to overtime before bowing out.
Iowa State's best win last year was home to KenPom #265 Jackson State. They lost 18 of the 18 Big 12 games they played, and then lost in the first round of the Big 12 tournament. They're not projected to be good this year.
Three teams in Bart Torvik's top 25 and Iowa State. Should be a good time.