Mississippi State vs Virginia NIT Tournament Picks and Predictions: Sweet Virginia

The Virginia Cavaliers are one of the favorites to win the NIT and open the tournament tonight with a showdown against the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Virginia's the better team from almost every angle, and with a short spread, we like the Cavs.

Mar 16, 2022 • 08:51 ET • 4 min read
Reece Beekman Virginia Cavaliers NIT College Basketball
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

At the start of the season, the Virginia Cavaliers didn’t expect to be playing in the NIT. But with a 19-13 record inside a weak ACC, the Cavaliers will look to win the tournament this year.

Virginia’s first opponent will be an SEC team in the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Mississippi State lost three of its last four games with the lone win coming in the SEC Tournament against South Carolina. 

Will Virginia flex its muscles in the NIT this season? Here are our college basketball picks and predictions for the first-round NIT matchup between the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Virginia Cavaliers.

Mississippi State vs Virginia odds

This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.

Virginia opened as a 2-point favorite but has now been bet up to as high as -3 at a couple of outlets. The total opened at 123 but it can be found anywhere between 122.5 to 124 at the time of writing. Shop around for the total!.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until tip-off and be sure to check out the full college basketball odds before placing your bets.

Mississippi State vs Virginia predictions

Predictions made on 3/16/2022 at 7:11 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Mississippi State vs Virginia game info

Location: John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, VA
Date: Wednesday, March 16, 2022
Tip-off: 7:00 p.m. ET

Mississippi State vs Virginia betting preview


Mississippi State: Rocket Watts G (Questionable).
Virginia: None.

Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Bulldogs are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games overall. Find more NCAA betting trends for Mississippi State vs. Virginia.

Mississippi State vs Virginia picks and predictions

Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.

Spread analysis

The Virginia Cavaliers are looking for their 20th win of the season. For many programs, 20 wins would signify a successful season. However, for Virginia, expectations are a bit higher and the Cavaliers didn’t even reach the NCAA Tournament. 

Nevertheless, the season still isn’t over and at least the older guys on the team get to make one last run at a tournament with their team. 

Virginia is shooting just 32.2% from three while hitting 50.3% from inside the arc. The Cavaliers are a slow offense, using 20.3 seconds per possession this season, and rarely get to the line. Virginia turns the ball over just 16.3% of the time and can earn offensive rebounds at a 28.3% clip. Overall, though, the offense hasn’t been all that special. 

On the other hand, Mississippi State has essentially been the better defense this year, holding opponents to a 49.6% effective field goal percentage. The Bulldogs are earning 19.5% turnovers and holding opponents to 26% offensive rebounds. Plus, the Bulldogs have also been able to limit teams from getting to the foul line.  

Mississippi State should be fine defending the three, but inside, the Bulldogs have struggled a bit, giving up 50.6% from inside the arc. Virginia’s not going to take a whole lot of shots from deep and will try to score inside throughout the game.

On the offensive side of the ball, Mississippi State is shooting just 29.5% from deep and 51.6% from inside the arc. Like Virginia, the Bulldogs rarely take 3-point shots. Mississippi State turns the ball over 19.5% of the time but dominates the offensive glass, earning 34.4% of offensive rebounds. 

That’s going to help the Bulldogs earn second chances and more shot attempts but the turnovers and fewer foul shots won’t help. Mississippi State makes a living off the foul line but Virginia is a disciplined defense that just won’t foul the Bulldogs to the line at a high rate.

This season, Virginia is holding teams to 33.9% from deep and 47.7% from inside. As long as Virginia dictates the game inside the paint on both sides of the ball, I’ve got Virginia winning and covering at home.

Prediction: Virginia -2.5 (-110)

Over/Under analysis

Virginia’s a team that loves to play in the halfcourt. The Cavaliers will rarely get out on the break and will rarely allow a breakaway. That’s always going to help the total go under. 

Virginia and Mississippi State won’t get to the line all that much and neither team is shooting a high volume of threes. The expectation is that both of these teams score inside a little bit but not enough to get this game over the total of 124. 

Virginia should be able to dictate the pace of play is playing very well defensively inside the arc. 

Grab the under here. 

Prediction: Under 124 (-110)

Best bet

I’m not really worried about motivation despite this not being a part of the NCAA tournament. 

The reality is, Virginia is much better defending inside and much better at scoring inside the arc when matched up against Virginia. If we take away the threes, which Virginia is better at anyway, the Cavaliers easily look like the better team on both sides of the ball. 

I’ve seen some analysts pick Virginia to win the entire NIT. We’ll see if those guys know anything.

Pick: Virginia -2.5 (110)

College basketball parlays

Did you know that if you parlayed our Mississippi State vs. Virginia picks, you could win $26.45 on a $10 bet?

Use our college basketball parlay calculator to create your own parlays and see their potential payouts.

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