NIT Tournament Betting Odds & Picks — SMU Battles Minnesota For NIT Crown

SMU Mustangs

When his SMU Mustangs were left out of the NCAA Tournament, coach Larry Brown vowed that his team would prove the doubters wrong. The only way to do that was to make a deep run in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). On Thursday night, SMU has an opportunity to top off its season with huge vindication, as the Mustangs meet up with the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the championship game that will tip off at 7 PM ET at Madison Square Garden in New York. SMU had to pull a rabbit out of a hat to get here, overcoming a double-digit halftime deficit against Clemson, not only winning but getting the cover in the basketball lines. Minnesota made some mistakes that allowed Florida State to take the game into overtime in the semi-finals, but they eventually prevailed, and they are going to the NIT championship game for the second time in three seasons. In the NIT Tournament betting odds posted at Get That Bet on this game, SMU is a slight favorite:

NIT Tournament betting odds courtesy of Get That Bet USA Sportsbook

SMU Mustangs -3

Minnesota Golden Gophers +3

Over 132.5 points -110

Under 132.5 points -110

Brown, the legendary coach who won an NCAA title with Kansas and NBA championship with the Detroit Pistons, has this team playing in his image – the Mustangs defend well (38% field goals allowed), create their own all offensive opportunities (7.7 steals per game), and know how to control the boards. That gives them an opportunity to increase the tempo in bringing the ball down the court. Brown was a point guard throughout his playing career, and so he understands how critical that element is. Nic Moore has been a godsend to him, as the Illinois State transfer averages 13.5 points and helps this team minimize turnovers. In fact, as basketball bettors know if they have looked at the box scores, SMU has turned the ball over less than 10 times per game during this tournament.

 

Get That Bet customers are well aware that Minnesota carries some valuable tournament experience into this game. The senior backcourt of Andre Hollins and Austin Hollins (no relation) have averaged almost 26 points per game, and they were part of the Minnesota team that lost the NIT final two years ago to Stanford. So they have some vindication of their own to attain. Minnesota may be without its best inside player, Elliott Eliason, who missed the semi-final game against Florida State with an ankle injury. Backup Maurice Walker has come through more than once for the Gophers this season, but if Eliason can’t play, Walker needs to stay out of foul trouble. As far as what NIT Tournament bettors can take out of some past history this season, SMU has scored two victories over the Connecticut Huskies, who made it all the way to the NCAA Final Four. That fact might make this team even more determined. At the same time, SMU lost twice, including their only straight-up defeat at home, against Louisville, coached by Rick Pitino, who just so happens to be the father of Minnesota’s coach, Richard Pitino. So you know that the Mustangs will be looking at a similar style of play in this one.

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