NIT 2021: Latest Odds Advice and Predictions for Quarterfinals Bracket

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMarch 22, 2021

NIT 2021: Latest Odds Advice and Predictions for Quarterfinals Bracket

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    Matt Strasen/Associated Press

    The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs and Western Kentucky Hilltoppers will play the rubber match of their season series Thursday with a spot in the NIT semifinals on the line.

    The Conference USA squads contested two tight affairs at the start of January that were decided by a combined seven points.

    Those matchups forced the line for Thursday's quarterfinal to be set at a point. It is one of two spreads set at a point or less.

    The Colorado State Rams, one of two No. 1 seeds left, are the other slim favorite on the board for the games in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Colorado State is set to play the NC State Wolfpack.

    In the other two matchups, the Boise State Broncos play the Memphis Tigers and the Mississippi State Bulldogs face off with the Richmond Spiders.

NIT Quarterfinal Schedule and Odds

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    Richard W. Rodriguez/Associated Press

    Thursday, March 25

    No. 4 Mississippi State vs. No. 2 Richmond (N/A) (6 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

    No. 3 NC State vs. No. 1 Colorado State (-0.5) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN)

    No. 2 Boise State vs. No. 1 Memphis (-4.5) (9 p.m. ET, ESPN)

    No. 4 Louisiana Tech (-1) vs. No. 3 Western Kentucky (10 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

    Predictions against the spread in bold. Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.

Western Kentucky (+1) vs. Louisiana Tech

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    Matt Strasen/Associated Press

    Western Kentucky's key to victory Thursday is what it has been all season.

    The Hilltoppers need to feed center Charles Bassey on a constant basis. That is especially true for a matchup with Louisiana Tech.

    On January 8 and 9, Bassey recorded back-to-back double-doubles against the Bulldogs in a 66-64 win and a 63-58 defeat. He had 38 points and 30 rebounds in that series.

    Bassey had no trouble scoring points in the first-round win over the Saint Mary's Gaels, as he finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds. If he is efficient underneath the basket, all Western Kentucky needs is one or two of its guards to make some shots over 40 minutes.

    When they beat Louisiana Tech, the Hilltoppers had four players reach double figures. Only two did so in the loss the night after.

    Look for Taveion Hollingsworth to complement Bassey after his 21-point outburst against Saint Mary's. The senior had 27 points in the matchups with Louisiana Tech.

    Defensively, the Hilltoppers can win the battle in the paint between Bassey and Kenneth Lofton Jr., who exploded for 22 points against the Ole Miss Rebels.

    Lofton produced six points in 37 minutes back in January, and he carries far less experience than his Western Kentucky counterpart.

    If Bassey takes control down low and receives another great supporting performance from Hollingsworth, Western Kentucky could win the season series and advance to the semifinals.

Colorado State (-0.5) vs. NC State

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    Richard W. Rodriguez/Associated Press

    Colorado State will face one of its most difficult tests of the season against one of the two power conference teams left in the bracket.

    The Rams squeezed by the Buffalo Bulls in the first round and may have trouble putting away a NC State team that has won six of its past seven.

    Colorado State has a path to victory if its well-rounded scoring lineup attacks the NC State defense as it did against Buffalo.

    Niko Medved's side had four of its five starters in double figures against Buffalo, and it is set to face a defense that conceded a ton of points when it lost this season.

    In seven of their 10 defeats, the Wolfpack allowed more than 70 points, including a 105-point outburst by the Florida State Seminoles on January 13. On March 10, the Wolfpack were gashed for 89 points by the Syracuse Orange.

    Colorado State could hurt NC State from deep since three of its four top scorers shoot above 37 percent from three-point range. In the win over Buffalo, Colorado State knocked down seven three-point shots and also won the free-throw battle by making all six of its shots in that department.

    If the Rams shoot well from downtown and get to the line on a consistent basis, they could land a semifinal berth.


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