Mississippi State Basketball: Bulldogs headed to the NIT
The season continues for Mississippi State (15-14, 8-10 SEC), as the Bulldogs are headed to North Texas to take part in the 2021 National Invitation Tournament. MSU joins the 16-team field as a No. 4 seed and will play No. 1 seed Saint Louis out of the A-10 Conference. Tip-off is set for Saturday, March 20, at 4 PM CT.
This year’s event will be held at the Comerica Center in Frisco, Texas, and UNT Coliseum in Denton, Texas. The Bulldogs will play in Frisco in their first-round matchup against the Billikens.
This year’s NIT appearance marks the second time in the last three postseasons that MSU has participated in the event. The Bulldogs made noise its last time in the NIT back in 2018, making a run to the final four at Madison Square Garden before bowing out to eventual champion Penn State.
Scouting Saint Louis
The Billikens ended up on the wrong side of the bubble come Selection Sunday, joining Louisville, Colorado State, and Ole Miss as the first teams left out of the NCAA Tournament. They come into the NIT with a record of 14-6 with Power 5 wins over LSU and NC State. Stadium’s Jeff Goodman had high praise for Saint Louis back in December.
Saint Louis fell to St. Bonaventure 71-53 in the semifinals of the A-10 Tournament, putting them on the outside looking in to receive an NCAA bid. With that being said, the Billikens are a clear-cut No. 1 seed in the NIT field.
Perkins leads the way scoring-wise at 17 points per game. He scored a season-high 32 in the win over LSU. Perkins also has the ability to shoot from outside, connecting on 38.7% of his three-point attempts.
Goodwin has been fantastic for the Billikens this season, averaging 14.5 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. The 6’3” guard recorded 15 double-doubles in Saint Louis’ 20 games.
Down low, Saint Louis rotates between four post players. Hasahn French has been the most productive, scoring 8.7 points and grabbing 7.2 rebounds per game. Marten Linssen, Jimmy Bell Jr., and Terrance Hargrove Jr. all see action for the Billikens and provide some offense at the rim.
As a team, Saint Louis scores about 75 points per game. They have shot a solid 35.2% from the three-point range this season.
If Mississippi State beats Saint Louis on Saturday, the Bulldogs will advance to the quarterfinals to battle No. 2 seed Richmond. The three other remaining teams on Mississippi State’s side of the bracket are No. 1 seed Ole Miss, No. 3 seed Western Kentucky, and No. 4 seed Louisiana Tech.
The full NIT bracket can be found here.