The 2017 NIT is officially underway, as Alabama gets set to host the 6th-seeded Richmond Spiders in Tuscaloosa tonight. The NIT may not be the goal that the team set out to achieve this season, but it certainly doesn't make this a failure of a year. There are plenty of quality teams in the consolation tournament this season, including the underrated Spiders, led by Atlantic 10 Player of the Year T.J. Cline.
'Bama will be tested tonight, especially if they let the hangover from the SEC Tournament get to them. Avery Johnson's group was embarrassed in the opening round of the NIT last year; he will certainly be looking to avoid that same outcome this season. A deep run in the NIT could instill some needed confidence into the core of this unit that will be returning next season. Plus, winning games in March always helps a program's image (read: recruiting).
The game will tip at 8:15 PM CDT and will be televised by ESPN2.