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Mississippi State men’s basketball meets Saint Louis in NIT first round

Tip time is set for 4 p.m.

NCAA Basketball: SEC Conference Tournament-Mississippi State vs Alabama Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

FRISCO, Texas — The No. 4 seed Mississippi State men’s basketball team opens play in the 2021 National Invitation Tournament on Saturday against No. 1 seed Saint Louis at 4 p.m. CT inside Comerica Center. The game will be televised on ESPN.

The four No. 1 seeds are Colorado State, Memphis, Saint Louis and Ole Miss. This year’s tournament field was cut from 32 teams to 16 and each team was selected as an at-large participant. Along with the championship game on March 28, the NIT will also feature a third-place game for the first time since 2003.

MSU (15-14, 8-10 SEC) fell to top-seeded and No. 6 Alabama 85-48 in a Southeastern Conference Tournament quarterfinal game on March 12.

The Bulldogs are led by sophomore guard Iverson Molinar and redshirt sophomore guard D.J. Stewart Jr. with 16.6 and 15.8 points per game, respectively. Redshirt sophomore forward Tolu Smith is putting up 12.7 points and a team-high 8.6 rebounds.

Saint Louis (14-6, 6-4 A10) fell 71-53 to St. Bonaventure in the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament on March 6.

The Billikens are led by senior guard Javonte Perkins with 17.0 points per game, while senior guard Jordan Goodwin is averaging 14.5 points and 10.3 rebounds.

Saturday’s meeting will be the third for MSU and Saint Louis. The series is split at 1-1 with the Bulldogs winning 75-50 during the 2014-15 season at the Corpus Christi Coastal Classic in Texas.

The winner of Saturday’s game advances to face Richmond during Thursday’s quarterfinal game. Tip time is to be determined.