NOTE: NIT Bracketology is updated daily now. You can find the latest here.
What happens when every NIT team loses? The bracket becomes an absolute mess. The top two seeds in the WAC, Louisiana Tech and Denver, both fell in the quarterfinals tonight in Las Vegas. That means we’ve got another auto-bid team as the Bulldogs have joined the fray. Denver also drops out of the bracket for now, because the Pioneers’ bad loss is just really hard to stomach considering they haven’t done much to offset it.
Of course Denver’s bad loss helped another team that lost tonight, Richmond, hang onto its spot at the bottom of the bracket. If you haven’t seen the final seconds of the Spiders’ loss to Charlotte and Chris Mooney’s epic meltdown you should check it out. What it means for our purposes though is that the 49ers are moving on and have an opportunity to get a good win and move further up the bracket on Friday. Another team that got a victory was LSU. The Tigers beat Georgia and now appear in the bracket for the first time in a long time. If they can get one more victory I think they’ll definitely be in the NIT come Selection Sunday. (Of course that game is against Florida, so the Tigers might be sweating it out.)
The bubble also helped define itself a little better tonight thanks to Georgia Tech’s awful loss to Boston College and Purdue losing to Nebraska. This is why there are basically six more teams I’m currently considering for bids. I’m open for nominations though. Really, please give me a name. The only requirements I have are: Multiple Top 100 victories; Fewer than 5 losses to teams outside the Top 125. I don’t think that’s too much to ask, but as I peruse resumes desperately looking for some teams to add to the weakening bubble I can’t find any.
Note: This bracket assumes that Texas A&M lost to Missouri. If the Aggies were to somehow come back and win that game (they’re down 15 with 7 minutes to play) they’d take Richmond’s spot in the bracket at the very least. The same could also be said for Washington if the Huskies manage to beat Oregon. There are opportunities for these major conference teams. Will they seize them?
Other teams with opportunities? Iowa and Maryland. After victories over Northwestern and Wake Forest respectively those two teams now have ideal chances to boost their resumes and make it into the NCAA tournament. For now I’m sticking with California, even after the Bears lost to Utah, because I can’t stomach all those Virginia losses and Ole Miss and Massachusetts just don’t have enough top wins, but the Hawkeyes in particular have what it takes to move into the Big Dance.
Big NIT games on Friday: Charlotte vs. Saint Louis (12 p.m.), LSU vs. Florida (1 p.m.), NC State vs. Virginia (2 p.m.), Tennessee vs. Alabama (3 p.m.), St. Joe’s vs. VCU (6:30 p.m.), Maryland vs. Duke (7 p.m.), Massachusetts vs. Temple (9 p.m.). Auto-bids on watch: Stephen F. Austin (Southland), Akron (MAC), Southern (SWAC), Long Beach State (Big West).
Last 6 Into NCAA: Oklahoma, Kentucky, St. Mary’s, Tennessee, Boise St., California
Wrong Side of NIT Bubble: Denver, Wyoming, Detroit, Ohio, Texas A&M, Washington, Texas (?)
NIT Bracket (bold are auto bids):
8. Robert Morris
4. Florida St.
5. Louisiana Tech
6. St. John’s
2. Middle Tennessee
1. Ole Miss
8. Charleston Southern
4. Brigham Young
5. Air Force
6. Indiana St.
8. Norfolk St.
4. Southern Miss
6. Northern Iowa
2. Arizona State
7. Stony Brook
5. Saint Joseph’s