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Ole Miss, Mississippi State selected to play in NIT

Ole Miss and Mississippi State were both passed over by the NCAA Tournament selection committee — at least for now — but both of their seasons are far from over.

The Rebels and Bulldogs were both selected as part of the 16-team field for the National Invitation Tournament announced Sunday evening.

“Proud of our players and staff!” Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis posted on Twitter Sunday evening. “We had some holes in our resume like many others but to win 8 of 11 down the stretch in the 3rd toughest league in America is hard to do.”

All NIT games will be played in Frisco, and Denton, Texas. Games begin Wednesday, and the championship game is March 28.

Mississippi State (15-14) is a No. 4 seed and will play top-seeded Saint Louis (14-6) Saturday at 4 p.m.

Ole Miss (16-11) is a No. 1 seed and will play Louisiana Tech (21-7) in the opening round Friday at 7 p.m. — or, at least, that’s the plan for now.

Because of the threat of COVID-19, the NCAA Tournament selection committee placed four teams on “standby” in case one of the 68 in the bigger tournament are unable to go. Ole Miss is No. 4 on that list, behind Louisville, Colorado State and Saint Louis.

Virginia and Kansas both had to bow out of their conference tournaments late last week because of positive COVID-19 tests.

If Virginia, Kansas, or any other team from a league with multiple bids has to opt out of the NCAA Tournament because of ongoing issues with the virus, the NCAA will replace them — in order — with one of the four teams on standby. The incoming team will take the position on the bracket of the team it replaces.

If a team from a one-bid league must be replaced, a team from the same conference will be selected.

Under the NCAA’s rules, the deadline to select a replacement team is 5 p.m. Tuesday.

For teams unable to play due to medical reasons after the deadline has passed, the game will be declared a no-contest and their opponent will automatically advance. There will be no seeding changes once the tournament begins.

NIT schedule
All games at Frisco, Texas, and Denton, Texas
March 17
Toledo (21-8) vs. Richmond (13-8), 6 p.m.
Western Kentucky (20-7) vs. Saint Mary’s (Calif.) (14-9), 8 p.m.

March 18
North Carolina State (13-10) vs. Davidson (13-8), 6 p.m.
SMU (11-5) vs. Boise State (18-8), 8 p.m.

March 19
Buffalo (16-8) vs. Colorado State (19-6), 6 p.m.
Louisiana Tech (21-7) vs. Ole Miss (16-11), 8 p.m.

March 20
Dayton (14-9) vs. Memphis (16-7), 11 a.m.
Mississippi State (15-14) vs. Saint Louis (14-6), 4 p.m.

March 25
All times TBA
Buffalo-Colorado St. winner vs. N.C. State-Davidson winner
SMU-Boise St. winner vs. Dayton-Memphis winner
Mississippi St-Saint Louis winner vs. Toledo-Richmond winner
La. Tech-Ole Miss winner vs. Western Kentucky-Saint Mary’s winner

March 27
Semifinals, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

March 28
Championship game, 11 a.m.
Third-place game, 2 p.m.

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured sports reporters in the paper's 137-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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