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NIT Bracket: March 7

NOTE: A new NIT bracket has been posted. You can find it here.

If you haven’t been following Conference USA, because you don’t care about the NIT bubble, you might not know what went down last night on the final night of the regular season. Four teams tied for first place at 13-3.

NIT logoWhat’s even crazier is that none of them are the host for the conference tournament! That honor goes to fifth-seeded UTEP. What the top four seeds (Louisiana Tech, Tulsa, Middle Tennessee and Southern Miss) do earn is a double-bye into the quarterfinals of the conference tournament. UTEP has to play one round earlier.

It’s a good thing too, because otherwise the Miners might be the conference tournament favorite. I ran my Monte Carlo simulation for the Conference USA tournament 10,000 times and these were the results the computer spit out.

Teams Finalist Titles
Louisiana Tech 4192 2756
UTEP (host) 3016 2034
Tulsa 4519 1823
Middle Tennessee 4365 1707
Southern Miss 2243 1306
UAB 366 139
Old Dominion 443 73
North Texas 327 59
Charlotte 150 41
Marshall 96 23
Florida Atlantic 106 16
East Carolina 32 13
Tulane 128 9
Rice 16 1
UTSA 1 0

Man this tournament is going to be fun. Why is it important to the NIT? Well, by virtue of being awarded the top seed in the tournament Louisiana Tech has an automatic bid to the NIT. The Bulldogs, who are 25-6 overall and a really good team, actually wouldn’t need it. They would be in the tournament on merit anyways, but I guess it’s nice to have. The other teams in the top five are all hoping to either a) Earn the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament or b) Make the NIT field. Right now I have UTEP and Middle Tennessee at the bottom of the bracket, with Southern Miss – a nominal NCAA tournament bubble team – safely in. Continuing to beat up on each other during the conference tournament will probably have an impact of these standings. Here though is my projected NIT bracket through Thursday night’s action.

Note: If you’re a fan of Maryland you probably want to go check out this bracket by The Bracket Project from a few days ago. It has UMD safely into the NIT field. I honestly can’t figure out how. The Terrapins don’t have a single victory over a Top 50 team even though they play in a power conference and they have 13 losses to teams in the Top 100. They had chances to beat good teams. They couldn’t do it. That’s not a postseason team. (Or at best it’s a CBI team.)

Last 6 Teams Into NCAA tournament: Providence, Georgetown, Dayton, Arkansas, Nebraska, Stanford

Projected NIT Bracket (ALL CAPS is an automatic bid):

1. Missouri
8. Indiana St.
4. N.C. State
5. Toledo
2. St. John’s
7. Manhattan
3. Clemson
6. Vanderbilt

1. California
4. Illinois*
5. West Virginia
2. Marquette
7. Oregon St.
3. LSU
6. Boise St.

1. Tennessee
4. Washington
5. Saint Mary’s
2. Florida State
3. Indiana
6. Ohio

1. Minnesota
8. Middle Tennessee
4. Southern Miss
5. Ole Miss
2. Utah
7. San Francisco***
3. Richmond
6. Georgia**

*Illinois, while seeded fourth, can’t host an NIT game because their arena is undergoing renovations.
**Georgia was dropped a seed line from its true seed (5) to accommodate bracket regulations
***San Francisco was dropped a seed line from its true seed (6) to accommodate geographic considerations

Also Considered: Akron, Buffalo, Cleveland St., Eastern Michigan, Maryland, Mercer, Miami (FL), Missouri St., New Mexico St., Santa Barbara, Texas A&M, Towson, Wake Forest, Wyoming

Update 3/7 at 10:38 p.m.: Two things happened on Friday that changed the bracket. One was that High Point became the first automatic bid into the NIT. That was easy. The second was that Western Michigan won the MAC’s automatic bid and the top seed. They’ve been moved into the NCAA tournament, which bumped Toledo down and caused a humongous mess. That’s changed a bunch of seeding. Ultimately it pushed UTEP to the 8 seed line and puts them in quite a bit of danger. High Point’s inclusion kicked Texas A&M out.

The next bracket comes out on Monday morning. There will probably some auto bids by then. Expect about nine teams to need one. You can figure out what teams are up for it by checking out our postseason tracking page.

9 thoughts on “NIT Bracket: March 7

    1. John Templon Post author

      Yes, High Point was just eliminated. They’re going to be integrated into this bracket now.

      1. John Templon Post author

        High Point has been added to the bracket as a #8 seed. Their inclusion caused Texas A&M, the final team into the bracket, to drop out and some reshuffling to occur for the best geographic placement.

  1. Tryal Alexander

    Texas tech beat Texas today does that give them a better chance to make the NIT? They have beaten 3 top 25 ranked teams Baylor,Oklahoma state, & Oklahoma they have a 14-17 record & 6-12 in the toughest conference this year

    1. John Templon Post author

      There’s no way at 14-17 overall Texas Tech is getting a bid to the NIT. Their best hope is to win the Big 12’s automatic NCAA bid or take a CBI bid.

  2. Trev

    C’mon UTEP we bleed orange here in West Texas. The Don has often been compared to the Cameron Crazies!!!We won an amazing 8 road games but lost 4 at home that is why we are on the bubble!!

  3. Zack

    What’s the logic on leaving out Maryland? I understand that this bracket was before the win over UVA, but I kind of thought that an RPI in the 70s was pretty much an automatic NIT-berth for a big 6 conference team. The W-L isn’t great, but they’ve played on of the toughest schedules in the country.

    1. John Templon Post author

      They’ll be in tomorrow’s bracket, but the biggest issue for me before the UVA game is that even though they’d played a tough schedule they’d lost every Top 50 game. Still just 4-14 against Top 100 and UVA is lone Top 50 W. Compare that to say West Virginia who has 5 excellent wins. Still, Maryland should find a way in after beating Virginia.


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