NIT Bracketology: The Way Too Early Version

It’s once again time to for NIT Bracketology. I’ll note right from the outset here that it’s way too early to do this bracket. There are way too many unknowns. It might be better if I was trying to predict a bracket, like Team Rankings is doing this season, but this bracket is as if the season ended today. The resumes bleed together and the non-conference schedule hasn’t done enough to separate teams. So take all of this with a grain of salt, it’ll get better when I do the next week in two weeks.

Here is my first crack at this season’s NIT bracket. I took the current conference leaders from Ken Pomeroy’s site with a few liberties.

  1. I made North Dakota St. the Summit Leader instead of Western Illinois.
  2. I made Murray State the current Ohio Valley Conference champion.

Last Eight At-Larges In: Florida St., BYU, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Boise St., Oklahoma St., Indiana St., Belmont

It’s worth noting that the final 8-10 at-large spots in the NIT are typically absorbed by automatic bids. Last season there were 11 teams that received automatic bids to the NIT, though a number of them would’ve been in anyways. I haven’t done any scrubbing of the seeds or the match ups. I followed my S-curve exactly starting with No. 1 Iowa St. and moving down the list. So yes, that La Salle vs. Villanova match up happened by random chance.

NIT Bracket:

1. Iowa St.
8. California
4. Illinois St.
5. Washington
3. La Salle
6. Villanova
2. Stanford
7. Georgia Tech

1. Oregon
8. Charlotte
4. Arkansas
5. St. John’s
3. St. Mary’s
6. Alabama
2. Dayton
7. Texas

1. Saint Joseph’s
8. Valparaiso
4. Santa Clara
5. Rutgers
3. Louisiana Tech
6. Southern Miss
2. Pittsburgh
7. Texas A&M

1. Iowa
8. Lehigh
4. Northern Iowa
5. Seton Hall
3. Northwestern
6. Massachusetts
2. LSU
7. South Florida

One thing I noticed while going through this exercise is there aren’t very many mid-majors that have compiled strong resumes through non-conference play that aren’t expected to be in the NCAA tournament. It’s worth noting that UIC, Fairfield, George Mason, Bradley, Stony Brook (as Vermont is current AE champion), Western Kentucky and Northwestern St. were all considered as well, but fell short for one reason or another. Thoughts? Complaints? Do you know how to rank Big East teams? Let me know in the comments.

11 thoughts on “NIT Bracketology: The Way Too Early Version

  1. Vasalos

    St. Joe’s way too high. UMASS way too low. Those two rankings alone really devalue RPI which we know is a significant determiner when it comes to seeding.

    1. jtemplon Post author

      The RPI is behind all of this (oh I wish it weren’t), but what it’s ultimately used for is wins and losses. St. Joe’s has three wins as good as UMass’ best win. I think UMass though is a team that could move up, but right now St. Joe’s is tied for 55 in RPI and UMass is 46, which isn’t a huge difference at all. There are teams with good RPIs that don’t have good resumes because they haven’t beaten anyone of substance. For instance… Nebraska, which is between both those teams and not in the bracket at all.

  2. Vasalos

    This is the problem when it comes to bracketology models. Where are you getting RPI stats from? has St. Joes at 60 and UMASS at 46. That’s a good difference. I bet you’re using which has flaws especially when you look at their conference winner projections.

    1. jtemplon Post author

      I’m using ESPN’s Insider RPI. I’ve found it to be the most consistent version for my work in the past, but I’m open to alternative suggestions.

      1. Vasalos

        Great, ESPN who is biased towards St. Joe’s because Lunardi has deep roots their as well as teaches bracketology courses there. Great source. Seriously though, these are the statistical limitations behind bracketology. The numbers are way too difficult to control. In the end, UMASS has two more wins over St. Joe’s and has a higher RPI. The seedings probably should be reversed. La Salle as well is probably a #2. There’s good argument that they are a #1 seed as some bracketologists have them first four out of the Big Dance. Again we know RPI is a significant determiner in seeding and placement in and out of brackets.

  3. Tyson

    Good call picking NDSU to with the Summit, over Western Illinois. If it’s not NDSU it will be SDSU. Their RPI is a little low at the moment, but SDSU will make the NIT if NDSU wins the Summit and vice-versa. You heard it here first!

  4. Pingback: Big 12 M5: 01.08.13 EditionRush The Court | Rush The Court

    1. jtemplon Post author

      Pitt had 2 losses when this bracket was compiled. They’re 13-4 still with a win over Georgetown. We’ll see what the end up in the Big East, but if they do anything better than 8-10 they’re in the NIT for sure. If you think Pitt is definitely an NCAA team… Well tell me who else they’ve beaten.

      Oregon just swept the Arizona schools. So I’m assuming you’re suggesting that they’re certainly an NCAA Tournament team? If so that’s great, but their best win when I built the bracket was UNLV and then nothing. They’ll be in the NCAAs in next week’s bracket assuming they beat USC on Thursday.

  5. Booby joe

    What about Arkansas state. They are 17-9 and will probably win the last three games of the year. They don’t get any credit. And your considering Western Kentucky. They have a season sweep on them. Beat them by 19 at home and on the road. Get your facts right!

    1. jtemplon Post author

      Arkansas State was definitely on the board. Their win over Middle Tennessee State gives them a Top 100 win which is nice, but they also have 5 losses to teams with an RPI from 101-200 and 3 against teams with an RPI over 200. That’s not good. A weak Sun Belt is hurting their profile. I’d expect them to end up in the CBI or CIT if I had to guess. The latest NIT bracket is here, by the way and WKU is nowhere near it:


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