The 2019 NIT Championship Game is set, and it should be a terrific matchup. The Texas Longhorns and Lipscomb Bison have both pulled off upsets along the way to get to this point, and both teams have a ton of momentum. The Longhorns can really defend at a high level, and Lipscomb has been scoring points like crazy of late.
Texas brings a 20-16 record into this NIT Championship Game, and the Longhorns finished in 6th place in the Big 12 Conference. The Longhorns blew out conference rival TCU in their semifinal game to set up this clash with Lipscomb. The Bison bring a 29-7 record into this game and finished in a first-place tie with Liberty in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Lipscomb was able to rally and get past Wichita State to get to this game. The Texas Longhorns are a -1.0 point favorite in this game.
Texas Must Continue To Defend
If the Texas Longhorns are going to come away with an NIT Championship, then they are going to have to rely on their defense. Texas allowed just 44 points in their semifinal victory over TCU, and are giving up just 66 points per game this season. The Longhorns should have a pretty big size advantage over the Horned Frogs in this game, and that should help them protect the paint.
Senior guard Kerwin Roach II has had an extremely difficult season for the Texas team, but he is trying to end it on a high note. Roach has been suspended on two different occasions for Texas but has been a dominant force in the NIT. The speedy guard poured in 22 points in the semifinal victory and leads the team with 15.0 points per game this season. Forward Dylan Osetkowski has also been playing well and is averaging 10.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.
Lipscomb Must Be More Than Mathews
Lipscomb has been riding on the shoulders of Garrison Mathews all tournament long, but at some point will need more production from elsewhere. Mathews has been remarkable of late, pouring in 38 points per game in the last two Bison victories. There is a reason that he was the ASun Player of the Year this season, and he will be looking to put on another show at Madison Square Garden.
The Bison are averaging more than 83 points per game as a team, and they have a couple of other players who will be keys to this game. Forward Rob Marberry is averaging 14.7 points per game, but his defense will also be vital in this game. Lipscomb shoots better than 37 percent from the three-point line as a team, and they will have to make shots to free up some space from Mathews.
Lipscomb Wins NIT Title
This game will likely come down to which team will make more shots, and the Lipscomb Bison have a huge edge in that department. Garrison Mathews is clearly the best player on the floor, but Lipscomb has a team full of terrific shooters. Texas has had a great run of late, but their offense will let them down. Bet the Lipscomb Bison +1.0 over the Texas Longhorns in this game.