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NIT Bracketology: March 10

There is a new bracket available for March 13.

This weekend kicked off March Madness for real and the madness started in the mid-major conference tournaments. The NIT now includes six teams using automatic bids because they were a regular season champion that was upset during their conference tournament.

NIT logoThis of course gives sportswriters (even the really smart ones) the opportunity to complain about the institution of the conference tournament. When three No. 1 seeds (Vermont, Florida Gulf Coast and Davidson) go down on the same day the arguments introduced by ESPN’s Eamonn Brennan and CBS’ Matt Norlander – for Sports On Earth – seem to gain even more traction.

But the fact is that these the regular season doesn’t do that much better than the a conference tournament in figuring out which team deserves to go to the NCAA tournament. Two teams that have been given automatic bids to the NIT – High Point and Florida Gulf Coast – won their regular season titles without being the best team this season according to Ken Pomeroy. Coastal Carolina and Mercer have the potential to do a better job representing the Big South and Atlantic Sun better in the NCAA tournament. In fact, Pomeroy wrote that conference tournaments produce the wrong automatic bid team about two or three more times than regular season champions each season.

Why do then do conferences do it? For the entertainment value. There is nothing better than single elimination basketball with a true prize at the end. Ask anyone who watched one of the closely contested games scattered throughout the weekend. There was edge-of-your-seat drama everywhere. (Green Bay and Davidson both lost in overtime.) Also, if these conference tournaments didn’t have the automatic bid associated with them would they be shown on the ESPN networks? No way. Those two plus hours on TV are great exposure for the leagues.

Personally, I think that conferences should reward the regular season by concocting a conference tournament format that rewards regular season success. Don’t do what the America East did the past two seasons and force the No. 1 seed to play on the road in the semifinals. Give double-byes, and/or home court advantage to the top seeds. Reward winning. But this is March. It should be entertaining.

That said, onto the NIT bracketology! The most surprising thing in the bracket projection for the final Monday before Selection Sunday is that the Manhattan Jaspers are included. This makes me look like a huge homer, but I just have a feeling about this one. If the Jaspers lose in the MAAC finals tonight they won’t get an NCAA at-large, but I could see an NIT bid in their future. (If Iona loses the rubber match they’ll get an automatic invite.) Unfortunately, Oregon State was kicked out of this bracket to make room for the Jaspers. In almost every season before this the Beavers would’ve done enough to get a bid. But the bubble is strong and OSU lost out to a few stronger candidates.

As always you can stay up to date on other postseason tournaments by checking out our Postseason Tracking Page. Information about which teams the CBI and CIT are talking to is starting to leak out and can be valuable if your team isn’t in the bracket below.

Last 9 teams into NCAA tournament: Nebraska, Saint Joseph’s, Dayton, Pittsburgh, Xavier, Tennessee, Stanford, BYU, California

NIT Bracketology (auto bids bold and IN CAPS):

1. Georgetown
4. Georgia
5. Ohio
3. West Virginia
6. LSU
2. Florida St.

1. Missouri
4. Illinois %
5. Toledo
3. Indiana
6. Maryland
2. Providence

1. Utah
4. Marquette %%
3. Washington**
6. Saint Mary’s*
2. Minnesota
7. Richmond

1. St. John’s
4. N.C. State
3. Southern Miss
6. Clemson
2. Arkansas
7. Middle Tennessee

Lots of notes:

*Saint Mary’s was dropped one seed line to set up a convenient game at Washington in the first round.
**Washington was moved up a little more than one seed line to set up the game. This is really a 4-5, not a 3-6.
***Green Bay is an edge 3/4 seed, they were dropped down here because this game makes way too much sense.
% Illinois is a 4 seed, but can’t host. This game would be played at Toledo.
%% Marquette can’t host Rd. 1 at the Bradley Center, because they’re hosting the NCAA tournament, so this game would have to be moved.

Teams On The Outside: Oregon State, Akron, Texas A&M, UNLV, Indiana St., San Francisco, Buffalo, Ole Miss, Towson, Wake Forest, Penn State, Vanderbilt

Update 9:30 p.m. 3/10: Manhattan has won the MAAC’s automatic bid. Iona actually slots really easy into the Jaspers’ slot with its automatic bid. That’s what I’ve done for now.

Update 9:10 p.m. 3/11: Robert Morris was just eliminated by Mount St. Mary’s. The NEC’s No. 1 seed will play in the NIT. UTEP is now on the wrong side of the bubble. In order to make room I just sent RMU to Utah, but I’ll probably need to think about the best way to handle it when I put out a new bracket later this week.

24 thoughts on “NIT Bracketology: March 10

    1. John Templon Post author

      They could potentially host there. That’s the rumor that’s been floated around at least.

      Beating Oregon would certainly help. OSU should also probably fewer bid thieves during week two of Championship Fortnight.

    1. John Templon Post author

      Texas Tech is 14-17 overall. They do have four good wins (including Oklahoma away), but being under .500 is a non-starter considering all the good teams 4-5 games over .500 that aren’t even considered. TTU is 4-16 against the Top 100 this season. They should play in the CBI though.

  1. Nick Esasky

    Would a UGA loss to Ole Miss in the quarterfinals potentially flip-flop these teams or is UGA safely in the NIT at this point?

    1. John Templon Post author

      Georgia is the team that is consistently the hardest to seed because the Bulldogs have basically been two different teams during non-conference and SEC play. They also still don’t have a Top 50 victory, but do have 6 victories over teams ranked 50-100 in the RPI (mostly due to how the SEC is set up). Beating whoever comes their way in the quarters is a good way for UGA to lock up a bid.

    1. John Templon Post author

      Can you tell me which ones of these teams (besides the automatic bids) you’d exclude to put Indiana State in? The Sycamores have beaten exactly 1 team (Belmont) that will make either the NCAAs or NIT field as projected here. They’re 2-7 against the RPI Top 100 (the other win is over Missouri St.) and have 3 other bad losses in conference. Their best road win? At RPI 112 Northern Iowa.

      I don’t think ISU would beat any at-large team in the current field, which is why they’re one of the first 4 or so teams outside.

      1. Gary

        Their RPI vs. top 100 isn’t strong, you are correct. While the UNI is one of their best road wins, ISU also won easily at Notre Dame (103rd in KenPom rankings). That’s a Notre Dame team that beat IU on a neutral floor. As for the bad losses, they’re all to teams in the top 156 in KenPom, the 156 being a Southern Illinois team that finished by winning 8 of 12 to finish the season after a god-awful start to the year.

        You want to see a bad loss, just check out Manhattan, who not only plays in a garbage conference that ranks at best 17th in the country, they lost to a team that is 290th in one RPI ranking but two other teams that are 190th or worse.

        The Sycamores are also one of three teams to lose to Wichita State in single digits? Ask Greg Marshall if he thinks Indiana State could beat Manhattan or several other teams in your “projection”?

        1. John Templon Post author

          I’m putting out a new bracket tomorrow. Manhattan played their way into the NCAA tournament, so let’s not worry about them. The decision at the bottom of the bracket right now is really: Indiana St., Maryland, Clemson and Washington. You can throw UTEP into that discussion too if you want and make it two spots.

          1. Gary

            Fair enough. 5 teams for 2 spots. I’d pick the 2nd-place Valley team over the 9th-place Pac 12 team all day. The Huskies are one loss from a .500 season.

    1. John Templon Post author

      Not sure how USF could be considered a “lock” by any stretch. They’re 2-7 against the RPI Top 100 and those two wins were both at home and only 1 of those teams (St. Mary’s) is going to play in the NCAA tournament or the NIT. So they’ve beaten 1 quality team and it was at home. They also have 3 losses to teams 100+ in RPI. Their best road win was at Pacific. USF has a great opportunity against BYU on a neutral court, but without it – and with the bubble tightening up due to automatic bids – someone has to get cut and USF just doesn’t have the profile of the schools in the field.

  2. Jack Ryan

    How can you bring up RPI and then disregard it. Its’s simple: USF has a better RPI than many of the teams you put in the field.

    1. John Templon Post author

      Because we’re not using strict RPI rank here as the be all, end all. It’s a sorting tool to help figure out resumes. Sure, USF has an RPI of 64. Its non-conference RPI? The piece it could control. 149. That’s not good.

  3. Jack Ryan

    Our non conference RPI is worse because we are peaking right now. The committee will reward teams playing well at the end of the season, not some of teams you have in right now that are limping.

    1. John Templon Post author

      Washington’s non-conference RPI is 160, which yes, is right around USF’s. You know what else UW has? 5 wins over teams currently in the NCAA tournament or NIT, plus two more over Oregon State (which is why the Huskies are in and not OSU).

      I should note: I could see San Francisco getting in. I just don’t know who to kick out to make room for them.

  4. Tom

    I think you might have gotten caught up in the Arkansas hype, they got swept by Mizzou who I believe is the more deserving 1 seed

    1. John Templon Post author

      I obviously don’t say this often, but I think you might be right. At the very least the Arkansas and Missouri resumes are nearly identical and at that point the head-to-head wins should factor in. I’ve switched them for now.

  5. Pingback: Gonzaga Whoops Saint Mary's, Moves on to WCC Finals - West Coast Convo - A West Coast Conference Sports Site

  6. Zach Nelson

    Hey what happened to New Mexico State? If they don’t win the WAC tournament, shouldn’t they be in the NIT at least? They beat UTEP twice this year home and away and also the UNM Lobos at the pit…

  7. Pingback: BYU Knocks Off USF in Overtime Thriller - West Coast Convo - A West Coast Conference Sports Site

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