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2011 NIT Season Tip-Off Field: Syracuse In Good Shape; Stanford...Not So Much

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The NCAA revealed the full NIT Season Tip-Off field Wednesday afternoon, meaning we now know the 12 teams who will join the four hosts--Oklahoma State, Stanford, Syracuse, Virginia Tech--on the road to Madison Square Garden.

More on these early season (November 14-16) contests after the jump.

If the bracket holds, which is not a guarantee, particularly given Stanford's region, one semifinal would feature the Orange and Hokies, while the Cowboys and Cardinal would meet in the other.

As for the four quadrants, Syracuse has a very easy path to the Big Apple, Oklahoma State and Virginia Tech may be tested, particularly in game two, while Stanford is on upset alert.

The Orange will host the North regional, opening up with Manhattan, who finished 6-25 in 2010-11. If the 'Cuse tops the Jaspers, they'd face the winner of the Albany (16-16 last season) vs. Brown (11-17) matchup. Seriously, if Jim Boeheim's men don't spend Thanksgiving in their second home, expect rioting in Central New York, or at least plenty of wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Oklahoma State will open Midwest play against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, which followed up its 2010 SWAC Tournament title and NCAA play-in game win with a seven-win 2010-11 campaign. Provided the Cowboys win that one, they could be tested in the regional final, as semifinal No. 2 features Oral Roberts, a traditional Summit League power who finished second in that conference last season, and Texas-San Antonio, last season's Southland Tournament champion. The Roadrunners are one of three teams in this field to win an NCAA Tournament game last season, as they topped Alabama State in the First Four.

George Mason also claimed an NCAA win, as they eliminated Villanova in the First Second Round. The Patriots will open up East region play against Isiah Thomas' Florida International Golden Panthers, who went 11-19 last season. If the Patriots advance, they'll likely face host Virginia Tech, a team that just missed the Big Dance last season, and who may just need a nice run through this event to make it in 2012. But first things first, and for the Hokies, that means grabbing a win against Monmouth in their first regional game. The Hawks are looking to build off a nine-win 2010-11 season.

Finally, Stanford will open West region play against Fresno State, a team that will be playing one of its first games under new coach Rodney Terry. The winner of that contest will play the survivor of Colorado State and SMU. The Rams looked like an NCAA team for parts of last season, but Tim Miles lost a few key performers (Travis Franklin, Adam Nigon, and Andy Ogide) to graduation, while the Mustangs look to finally be turning the corner under former Notre Dame and North Carolina coach Matt Doherty (Exhibit A: A .500 mark in Conference USA last season, which included a win over Memphis. Exhibit B: A semifinal appearance in the CollegeInsider Postseason Tournament.)

It's possible that visiting team, most likely George Mason, Colorado State, or SMU, will emulate VCU, who took advantage of a weak Wake Forest-led region to make it to the semifinals. The Rams finished third, as they defeated UCLA by four in the consolation game.

Keep in mind that the 12 teams who don't advance to New York will play two games at one of three campus-site consolation rounds.

As usual, I've updated the 2011 Early Season Events pagee with this information.

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