The 2019 National Invitation Tournament (NIT) has had plenty of upsets throughout, and the final game will feature a number five seed taking on a number two seed. Lipscomb has pulled off three upsets already to reach the title game, while Texas pulled off an upset of a conference rival in the semifinals to make it to the championship game. The Bison came into this tournament as a number five seed, while the Longhorns were given a number two seed. This will be a contrast of styles as Lipscomb will be looking to speed this game up, and Texas is comfortable with working the clock on offense.
Lipscomb scored more than 86 points in their first three games of this tournament, but had to play in a different way in their semifinal victory. The Bison were forced to buckle down on defense, and work for a good shot on the offensive end of the floor. Lipscomb was able to rally late and slip past Wichita State by a score of 71-64. Texas was fortunate to survive their first two games against San Diego State and Xavier, but they have had little trouble since. The Longhorns blasted conference rival TCU on Tuesday night by a score of 58-44. The Texas Longhorns are favored to win this game by -1.0 point on Thursday night.
Texas Just Won’t Give Up Points
Even though Texas doesn’t mind taking some chances on the defensive side of the floor, they have done a terrific job of protecting the rim as well. The Longhorns have given up just 66.4 points per game this season, but have been much better in their previous two wins. Texas allowed just 55 points to Colorado in the Elite Eight, and absolutely shut down TCU last night in giving up just 44. Forward Jaxson Hayes is averaging 2.2 blocks per game, and he will keep Lipscomb from getting easy buckets inside.
Guard Kerwin Roach II has had a very interesting career at Texas, but is no doubt the leader of this team. Roach is averaging a team high 15.0 points per game, and is shooting 36 percent from deep. Forward Dylan Osetkowski is probably the best player, and will be a handful for Lipscomb. The big man is averaging 10.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. Look for these two players to lead Texas in this game.
Matthews Carrying Bison Team
Lipscomb wouldn’t be in the NIT Championship Game if it weren’t for guard Garrison Mathews. Mathews is averaging 21.1 points per game this season, and has had a few monster performances in the tournament. All 44 of his points were needed in the 94-93 Quarterfinal victory over North Carolina State. Texas will do all they can to take Mathews out of this game, but that is easier said than done. The Atlantic Sun Player of the Year is making 41 percent of his three-point attempts, and makes all of the clutch shots for the Bison.
Even though Lipscomb likes to play at a fast pace, they are still allowing less than 70 points per game this season. The Bison average close to 8.0 steals per game, and they could cause some problems against a turnover-prone Texas team. Forward Rob Marberry will be given the task of stopping Osetkowski, and the whole Bison team will have to crash the glass. Lipscomb does have a win over TCU already this season, and they know they can play with the Big 12 teams.
Texas Wins it All
Even though Texas had another disappointing regular season, they have really turned things around in the NIT. The Longhorns have been shutting teams down with their defense, and their offense has been much improved as well. Garrison Mathews has been nothing short of heroic for Lipscomb in this tournament, but Texas will shut him down.
Bet the Texas Longhorns -1.0 to win the 2019 NIT Championship.