2023 NIT odds: Rutgers opens Tuesday vs. Hofstra as betting favorite to win consolation tournament

Rutgers is the betting favorite to win the 2023 NIT.
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The biggest snub for the 2023 NCAA Tournament? Probably Rutgers of the Big Ten. Both CBS Sports and ESPN bracketology experts had the Scarlet Knights in the First Four of the Big Dance. If it's any consolation for coach Steve Pikiell's team, they are the +700 favorites at FanDuel to win the NIT. The Scarlet Knights open the event as a No. 1 seed Tuesday at home against Hofstra as a 7.5-point favorite.

Rutgers is 19-14 overall and was 10-10 in Big Ten regular-season action. Most thought the Knights earned an NCAA at-large bid by upsetting Michigan 62-50 last Thursday in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament. They were eliminated by eventual champion Purdue. The Scarlet Knights have an NCAA NET ranking of 40 and were 4-7 in Quad 1 games. For a point of comparison, Providence of the Big East got into the Dance with a NET Ranking of 56 and 4-8 Quad 1 record.

A one-point loss at Big Ten doormat Minnesota on March 2, in which the Scarlet Knights led by 10 with just over a minute left, likely was the killer for Rutgers with the selection committee. Pikiell said there was never any doubt that Rutgers would accept an NIT spot, which North Carolina declined (or it likely would have been the tournament favorite).

"I want Caleb (McConnell) and Paul (Mulcahy) and the rest of our seniors to play as many games as they can," Pikiell said on accepting the bid. "I obviously don't want this season to end. This group has done a lot of great things for us and to have an opportunity to play a home game for those guys would be very important. I would love for them to take advantage of postseason play."

It marks the 15th time in Rutgers history that the Scarlet Knights will compete in the NIT. Rutgers last participated in the tournament in 2006. It has an overall record of 16-13 in the event. The Knights have reached one NIT final, losing to Michigan in 2004. Pikiell won the 1988 NIT as a player with UConn.

One of the rising coaching stars in college basketball is Hofstra's Speedy Claxton, who might be headed for a power conference job very soon despite recently getting an extension. A two-time Honorable Mention All-American, Claxton graduated from Hofstra in 2000 as one of only six players in school history to score 2,000 career points (2,015).

The Pride (24-9) were regular-season champions of the CAA but lost in the tournament semifinals 79-73 in overtime vs. UNC Wilmington. Teams that win regular-season conference titles are guaranteed an NIT berth. Claxton was named the CAA Coach of the Year, and guard Aaron Estrada was the CAA Player of the Year. Hofstra will be making its seventh appearance in the NIT and the first since the 2018-19 season.

The higher-seeded team in each game of the NIT hosts the matchups until the semifinals of the tournament. The semifinal and championship game used to be played at Madison Square Garden in New York, but now will be held at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

Rutgers and Hofstra have split six previous meetings. The teams last met in the 2020-21 season opener with the Scarlet Knights winning 70-56 at home. Tuesday's winner next faces either Cincinnati or Virginia Tech.

NIT Betting Favorites via FanDuel

  • Rutgers +700
  • Oklahoma State +850
  • Michigan +850
  • North Texas +900
  • UAB +1200
  • Oregon +1200

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