With everyone scrambling to fill out their brackets for the NCAA Tournament this week, four Southeastern Conference teams were selected to the big dance. However, another four SEC teams found themselves in a completely different tournament after last night’s selections. The National Invitational Tournament, the oldest college basketball tournament, tips off on March 13th and includes Mississippi State, Tennessee, Louisiana State, and Ole Miss to represent the Southeastern Conference.
The fourth seeded Mississippi State Bulldogs start off the action at home against fifth seeded Massachusetts in the first round Tuesday at 7 p.m. The MSU Bulldogs finished their season 22-11 overall and with a win in the first round, Mississippi State will advance to play the winner of the Seton Hall/Stony Brook game.
Tennessee earned the number one seed in their region as the Vols begin tournament action against Savannah State on Tuesday at 8 p.m. in Knoxville. The Volunteers finished the regular season 18-14. Tennessee will advance to take on the winner of Middle Tennessee and Marshall with a win tomorrow. Volunteer head coach Cuonzo Martin says he’s not surprised his team is in the NIT and they plan to play hard starting early.
As for LSU, the Tigers came up short against Kentucky in the SEC Tournament over the weekend but were still able to lock in the sixth seed in the NIT. The Tigers will face third seeded Oregon on Tuesday in Eugene starting at 9:30 p.m. The Tigers finished the regular season 18-14 and with an upset against the Ducks, LSU could advance to play either Dayton or Iowa.
The two seeded Ole Miss Rebels play host to the seven seeded Illinois State Salukis on Wednesday with tip off set for 9:30 p.m. Finishing their regular season 20-13, Ole Miss will play the winner between Stanford and Cleveland State with a win on Wednesday.
The four NIT SEC teams look to build off of last year’s tournament outcome after Alabama made it all the way to the finals before losing 66-57 to Wichita State in the championship game. Final Four action for the NIT runs from March 27-29 at Madison Square Garden where the finals have been held since 1938.