Mississippi is making its 12th overall NIT appearance and sixth under head coach Andy Kennedy, posting a 15-11 record in all NIT games (9-5 under Kennedy). The Rebels have advanced to the NIT Final Four twice under Kennedy and look to improve upon that mark with a win over Georgia Tech Tuesday night.
Mississippi owns a very good offense that is averaging 78.3 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 72.0 points per game to a mediocre offense. The Rebels’ attack is led by do-everything forward Sebastian Saiz, who is averaging 15.0 points and 11.3 rebounds per game this season.
The talented senior was selected All-SEC first team by the league’s coaches for the third consecutive season and is the SEC’s active career leader in rebounding with 993 boards. Saiz leads the conference and ranks 5th nationally in rebounding this year, pulling down 11.3 boards per game.
Saiz is the only player in the SEC averaging a double-double this season and ranks fifth nationally with 22 double-doubles this year. The senior also leads all active players in the SEC with 31 career double-doubles.
Mississippi’s backcourt is led by guards Deandre Burnett, who is averaging a team-high 16.8 points and 3.2 assists per game and Terence Davis, who is averaging 14.9 points per game. The Rebels also excel at the charity stripe where they are converting 75.2% of their free throw attempts this season, including making 75.8% at home.
Meanwhile, Georgia Tech arrives with an anemic attack that is 5.2 points per game worse than average (67.4 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 72.6 points per game). The Yellow Jackets are 2-11 SU on the road where they are averaging just 63.0 points per game (41.5% FG).
Georgia Tech is also incapable of making its free throws, shooting 67.8% from the foul line this season. The Yellow Jackets are making just 67.0% of their free throws away from home and 63.5% over their last five games. Mississippi is ranked 37th in the country in free throw percentage, whereas the Yellow Jackets are 262nd in the nation.
Overall, Georgia Tech was ranked 14th in the ACC in scoring, 15th in field goal percentage and three point percentage, 14th in free throw percentage and 270th in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency.
The Yellow Jackets will also be dominated on the boards by a much stronger Mississippi squad. Mississippi is ranked 8th nationally in total rebounds (1387) and 19th in rebounds per game (39.63), whereas the Yellow Jackets are 152 in rebounds per game (36.15).
Mississippi finished the regular season ranked second in the SEC with 39.6 rebounds per game and 4th with a +3.2 rebound margin. The Rebels also averaged 12.7 offensive rebounds per game, good for second in the conference.
History is also on thew side of Mississippi in that the Yellow Jackets have never advanced past the quarterfinal round of the NIT. Georgia Tech is 1-5 SU in NIT road games and head coach Josh Pastner has never defeated Andy Kennedy.
From a technical standpoint, Mississippi is a profitable 5-0 ATS in its last five non-conference affairs, 4-0 ATS in its last four games versus ACC opposition, 6-1 ATS in its last seven home games and 4-1 ATS in its last five games as a favorite, including 11-5-2 ATS when laying 6.5-points or less.
With Georgia Tech standing at 1-5 ATS on the road following an extended home stand (3+ games), lay the points with the Rebels in this NIT quarterfinals game as Oskeim Sports’ Free Best Bet for Tuesday, March 21.