"Rebels Heading to Monmouth in the NIT" by SportsBlog | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

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Rebels Heading to Monmouth in the NIT

Mississippi has six Division I men’s basketball teams, but only one made a postseason tournament. The University of Mississippi is heading to the National Invitation Tournament as a fifth seed.

None of the men’s teams reached the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament after the field of 68 teams were revealed on Sunday, March 12. That left the NIT, which the field of which was revealed on Sunday night.

The Rebels reached the NIT after a 20-13 season and reaching the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament. This is the ninth time UM has won 20 games under current head coach Andy Kennedy.

In the NIT, the higher seed normally hosts the games, but the lower seed will host if the higher seed can’t host for a number of reasons.

No. 4 Monmouth University from West Long Branch, N.J., will host the Rebels on Tuesday, March 14, at 6 p.m. ESPN3 will broadcast the game.

The Hawks are 27-7 overall and are the regular-season champions of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Monmouth lost to Siena in the semifinals of the MAAC Tournament, but it being a regular-season conference champion guaranteed the team a spot in the 81st NIT.

If the Rebels get past the Hawks, they will play the winner of the Syracuse University and University of North Carolina-Greensboro game. Syracuse is the No. 1 seed in the bracket, and UNC-Greensboro is the No. 8 seed. The teams could play the second-round game on either Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday.

Syracuse will host any game it plays during until the semifinals at Madison Square Garden. If Syracuse loses, the Rebels have a chance to host a game if they keep winning in the tournament.

In the other half of the bracket, No. 6 seed Georgia Institute of Technology will host number No. 3 the University of Indiana. Normally Indiana would host this game, but the school’s basketball complex began undergoing renovations after the regular season ended.

The winner of the Georgia Tech-Indiana game will face the winner of the No. 2-seed University of Georgia against No. 7-seed Belmont University game. If UM reaches the quarterfinals, one of the four teams in this half of the bracket will be waiting in the next round.

This is the Rebels’ 12th overall NIT appearance and sixth appearance under Kennedy. Overall UM is 13-11 all-time in the NIT and 7-5 in the tournament, with Kennedy leading the team. The Rebels have reached the final four of the tournament twice in 2008 and 2010, both times under Kennedy’s guidance.

Correction: An earlier version of this post had the Rebels facing the lower half of the bracket in New York the semifinals but it should have stated the lower half of the bracket will be hosted by the highest seed remaining in the quarterfinals. Sorry for this error, I read the bracket incorrectly.

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