Note: It’s Monday so there is a new NIT bracket available here.
The NCAA bubble is becoming more clear by the day and it’s influencing what’s going on in the NIT bracket below. Right now there appear to be about 15 teams fighting for eight NCAA spots depending on who you ask. The seven teams that don’t make it will probably earn higher seeds in the NIT. (Though not necessarily always one and two seeds.)
I’ve moved BYU into the NCAA tournament after the Cougars’ victory over Gonzaga. There are some ugly losses on the resume, but BYU also appears to be peaking at the right time. They probably need to reach the WCC semifinals (maybe even finals) to really feel safe. My guess is that local fans are going to be upset to see St. John’s still in this bracket. It really comes down to good wins. The Red Storm have 2-3 wins against potential NCAA tournament teams. Every other bubble team has more. Beating Xavier on Tuesday would be a great idea. I also think it’ll be tough to keep a 20-plus win St. John’s team out of the NCAA tournament. So we’ll see!
Last 5 In NCAAs: BYU, Richmond, Minnesota, Xavier, Tennessee
3. Southern Miss
8. San Francisco
4. Boise St.
3. Florida St.
6. Louisiana Tech
1. St. John’s
8. St. Bonaventure
4. Ole Miss
2. Saint Joseph’s
7. Indiana St.
1. West Virginia
5. Saint Mary’s
6. North Carolina St.
7. Oregon St.
Others Considered (alphabetical): Akron, Buffalo, Canisius, Cleveland St., Hawaii, Manhattan, Missouri St., Quinnipiac, Texas A&M, Towson, UC Irvine, UNLV, Wake Forest, Western Michigan, Wyoming
The cut-off around the bottom of the bracket is the same as everything else. The teams I chose as eight seeds have more good wins than bad losses and not all of the considered teams can really say the same. There’s definitely a chance that Illinois and/or Purdue won’t even finish over .500 during the regular season. If that’s the case then I’d seriously doubt they’d be considered for the NIT. Illinois needs at least one win amongst: Nebraska, at Michigan St., Michigan, and at Iowa (not easy!), while Purdue has a home game at the end of the season against Northwestern as a record buttress that should leave them at 16-15 at worst.
Still, any team that is a seven or eight seed here is extremely vulnerable. Teams are starting to wrap up their conference titles and Green Bay, Robert Morris and others are all solid teams, but upsets happen all the time in college basketball.
CIT/CBI Pool: Is huge. Teams of local interest include Columbia, Yale, Princeton, Drexel, American, Holy Cross, Bryant, Wagner, St. Francis Brooklyn, and Stony Brook. It’ll really come down to which teams are willing to pay to play after finishing strong during the regular season. I’ve started tracking what teams are interested here.