What Happened Last Night
Two NIT games, and in the first game, Sebastian Saiz decided that he wasn’t quite ready for his career with the Ole Miss Rebels to end. Saiz posted his 21st double-double of the season with 23 points and 11 rebounds, moving up to 24th on Ole Miss’ all-time scoring list (and he’s also second on the Rebels’ career rebounds list). Ole Miss beat Monmouth, 91-83, and now the Rebels await the winner of Syracuse and UNC Greensboro, which was postponed to tonight due to blizzards in Syracuse.
In the second game, the Alabama Crimson Tide saw their season end in a 71-64 loss to Richmond. Alabama couldn’t stop the Spiders from getting easy buckets, as Richmond shot 21-of-34 inside the arc, and also couldn’t stop turning the ball over. Corban Collins led the Tide with 19 points in his final college game. That said, this game doesn’t really mute any optimism for Alabama in 2017-18.
The Georgia Bulldogs open the NIT tonight as a 2-seed, facing the Belmont Bruins, who are here after falling in the OVC Tournament after winning the regular season title. Somewhat oddly, Georgia played Belmont in the first round of the NIT last year, too. This game will be televised on ESPN3 and can be streamed on the WatchESPN app.
Odds and Picks
- Belmont at Georgia (-6.5): This is a tricky game to pick. I always compare the NIT to minor bowl games; some teams are fired up to make a statement, while others don’t particularly want to be here. But that honestly could go either way. Georgia might be disappointed with being in the NIT — but also, JJ Frazier might not be done playing college basketball yet. Belmont could be looking to make a statement — or they could be miffed about falling to the NIT for the second year in a row. Given that these factors could go either way, Georgia’s the better team so I’ll go with them.