Mississippi State men’s basketball will appear in a postseason tournament after all.
Following a flurry of opt-outs, the Bulldogs (15-14) were one of the last teams invited to the 16-team NIT and will face No. 1 Saint Louis (14-6) as a No. 4 seed at 4 p.m. on Saturday. The entire tournament will be hosted at the Comerica Center in Frisco, Texas. Should they be victorious, MSU would face the winner of Richmond and Toledo.
The selection is MSU’s 10th NIT bid in school history and the first since the 2017-2018 season.
Of course, there is a slight possibility MSU’s opponent could change. The Billikens are the third team in the pecking order to earn an at-large NCAA tournament bid in the event several teams cannot participate in the NCAA tournament because of positive COVID-19 tests. Changes to the bracket can be made no later than Tuesday evening.
“I’m excited for our team and for our program,” MSU coach Ben Howland said in a news release. “This is a great opportunity for us to play in the postseason, and we’re looking forward to facing a quality Saint Louis team.”
Meanwhile, No. 1 Ole Miss will face No. 4 Louisiana Tech at 8 p.m. Friday. The Rebels are the fourth team on the NCAA tournament waiting list. If Ole Miss beats Louisiana Tech, it will take on the winner of Western Kentucky and Saint Mary’s. This is Ole Miss’ 13th NIT appearance in school history.
If any of the No. 1 seeds are plucked from the NIT, possible replacements in order include Belmont, Furman, Marshall and UAB.
MSU finished ninth in the SEC and is coming off a SEC tournament where it defeated Kentucky 74-73 in the opening round and fell to eventual tourney champion Alabama 85-48.
Hodge is the former sports editor for The Dispatch.
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