Southern Miss, Alcorn State get NIT assignments

Published 9:39 pm Sunday, March 12, 2023

Southern Miss and Alcorn State missed their chance at the Big Dance, but still will continue their seasons.

The two Mississippi schools were among 32 that received bids to the National Invitation Tournament on Sunday. They earned their spots via a process that awards NIT bids to regular-season conference champions who lose in their league tournaments and don’t receive a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Southern Miss (25-7) lost in the Sun Belt Conference quarterfinals after claiming its first regular-season conference title since 2014. The Golden Eagles will go to Birmingham to play former Conference USA rival UAB (25-9) in the first round of the NIT Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

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It’s the first time Southern Miss has played in the NIT since 2014, and only its second postseason tournament appearance since then. The last was a one-and-done effort in the College Basketball Invitational in 2019.

Southern Miss’ wins and NIT appearances in 2013 and 2014 were later vacated because of NCAA sanctions.
UAB is led by former Ole Miss coach and Mississippi native Andy Kennedy. The Blazers are in the NIT for the first time since 2016, but did reach the NCAA Tournament in 2022.

Alcorn State, meanwhile, will go on the road Wednesday to face North Texas (26-7) Wednesday at 7 p.m.

The Braves are in the NIT for the second year in a row. They won the Southwestern Athletic Conference regular-season championship in both 2022 and 2023, but lost to Texas Southern in the SWAC Tournament both years.

Alcorn lost to Texas A&M in the first round of the NIT last season.

North Texas set a record for wins and is in the NIT for the second year in a row.

• Tuesday, 7 p.m.
• NIT, first round
• Streaming: ESPN+

Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.
• NIT, first round
• Streaming: ESPN+

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 reporters in the paper's 140-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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