NIT 2021: Odds Advice, Over-Under Score Predictions for Quarterfinal Games

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IMarch 24, 2021

NIT 2021: Odds Advice, Over-Under Score Predictions for Quarterfinal Games

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    Matt Strasen/Associated Press

    Only one team can end the 2020-21 season as the NCAA men's basketball national champions. But another will finish it off with a title-clinching victory in the National Invitation Tournament.

    While every team aspires to reach the NCAA tourney, only 68 make the field each year. But the NIT gives more teams the opportunity to extend their season. It usually invites 32 teams to participate, but that number was reduced to 16 this year as the tournament is taking place entirely in the Dallas-Fort Worth area because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    The first round of the NIT is already complete, and eight teams have advanced to the quarterfinals. Those teams will all be in action Thursday, as all four quarterfinal matchups will be taking place on the same night. The winners will move on to the semifinals, which will occur Saturday.

    Here's a look at the quarterfinal schedule for the NIT, along with odds and predictions.  

Quarterfinals Schedule, Odds, Picks

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    Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

    Thursday, March 25

    No. 2 Richmond vs. No. 4 Mississippi State (no line) (6 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

    No. 1 Colorado State vs. No. 3 NC State (pk); Over/Under 147 points  (7 p.m. ET, ESPN)

    No. 1 Memphis (-4.5) vs. No. 2 Boise State; O/U 143 (9 p.m. ET, ESPN)

    No. 3 Western Kentucky vs. No. 4 Louisiana Tech (-1); O/U 137 (10 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

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

Colorado State, NC State Set for High-Scoring Matchup

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    Richard W. Rodriguez/Associated Press

    Colorado State has a lineup anchored by two sophomore guards—David Roddy and Isaiah Stevens. Roddy is averaging a team-high 16.1 points per game, while Stevens is averaging 15. Not only that, but Stevens lifted the Rams to a 75-73 victory over Buffalo in the first round of the NIT, making a go-ahead layup with 1.2 seconds remaining.

    NC State has a more balanced lineup, with five active players who are averaging between 7.0 and 12.8 points per game. That helped the Wolfpack cruise past Davidson in the opening round, notching a 75-61 win.

    Now, with Colorado State and NC State set to face off in the NIT quarterfinals, there's potential for plenty of offense between the two teams. The Rams are sure to get points from Roddy and Stevens, while the Wolfpack are coming off a game in which they shot 58.8 percent from the field.

    With an even line, this is a matchup that could go either way. However, both teams are likely to rack up some points regardless. Expect Colorado State and NC State to combine for more than 147 points, making it wise to bet the over for this contest.  

Memphis Will Cover Spread in Victory

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    Matt Strasen/Associated Press

    In each of Memphis' previous two NIT appearances, it won its first game before going on to lose its second. This time, the Tigers will be looking to make a deeper run as they face Boise State in the quarterfinals.

    Memphis has been playing well of late, winning eight of its past 10 games. Both of those losses came against Houston, which won the AAC tournament and is now one of the 16 teams remaining in the NCAA tourney.  And while the Tigers lost those two games, they kept both matchups close against a strong team.

    Opening the NIT with a 71-60 win over Dayton, Memphis kept its momentum going. The Tigers outrebounded the Flyers 44-26, which helped them pull away late to secure the victory. Sophomore guard Landers Nolley II, who leads the team with 12.9 points per game, tallied 21 points in the win.

    While Boise State is a solid team that will give Memphis a competitive matchup, expect Memphis to again pull away late for a sizable victory. The Tigers, who are 4.5-point favorites, will cover the spread and move on to the NIT semifinals.

Western Kentucky Will Win as Slight Underdog

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    Matt Strasen/Associated Press

    Although Western Kentucky is a No. 3 seed in the NIT and taking on Louisiana Tech, which is a No. 4 seed, the Hilltoppers are a one-point underdog for this quarterfinal matchup. And it could end up being a smart decision to bet on Western Kentucky to pull off the slight upset victory.

    The Hilltoppers reached the semifinals of the 2018 NIT, winning three games to get there, and they'll be looking to get to the same stage again with a win over the Bulldogs. They opened this year's tournament by beating Saint Mary's 69-67, winning on a pair of free throws by senior guard Taveion Hollingsworth with 3.3 seconds to go.

    Louisiana Tech is likely going to have a tough time trying to stop Western Kentucky junior center Charles Bassey, who is having a big season. The third-team All-American is averaging 17.7 points and 11.4 rebounds per game, and he should have another strong showing in this quarterfinal matchup.

    Because of that, expect Bassey to power the Hilltoppers to another win, pushing them into the semifinals of this year's NIT.


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