The NCAA Tournament starts tonight, but since we’re an SEC blog, we’re here to tell you about the two SEC teams playing in the NIT tonight.
At 7:15 p.m. ET, the Ole Miss Rebels, a 5-seed in the NIT, travel to West Long Branch, New Jersey to open the tournament against the Monmouth Hawks. The Hawks are in by virtue of winning the MAAC regular season title, though their seeding suggests they would have gotten in regardless. Monmouth is 27-6 but lost to Siena in the semifinals of their conference tournament; now, they get to host an SEC team in their gym. The game will be available on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.
At 9:15 p.m. ET, the Alabama Crimson Tide, a 3-seed in the NIT, host the Richmond Spiders of the Atlantic 10. Richmond enters with a 20-12 overall record and the Spiders finished in a tie for third in the A-10 with Rhode Island, who won the A-10’s automatic bid, but Richmond wasn’t really all that close to making the tournament after losing to VCU in the A-10 semifinals. This game will be televised on ESPN2 and can be streamed on WatchESPN.
Odds and Picks
- Ole Miss (+1) at Monmouth: NIT games are tough to pick. Much like minor bowl games, sometimes one of the teams isn’t all that motivated to play. That seems like it could be the case for Monmouth, who’s in the NIT for the second straight year after winning their conference regular season both times. I also think Ole Miss is the better team here to boot.
- Richmond (+8) at Alabama: This game will (probably) be played at a slow pace, which makes it a bit harder to cover an 8-point spread. I do think Alabama’s the better team, but the final margin will be a bit closer than this.