MY FINAL OFFICIAL NIT BRACKET HAS BEEN RELEASED. YOU CAN VIEW IT HERE.
This is my last NIT bracket until all the dust settles. Considering the Atlantic 10 final could include St. Bonaventure and Georgia St. still needs to win two games in the Sun Belt to avoid cashing in its NIT automatic bid the final bracket is probably coming tomorrow after those games.
There are now 11 automatic bids to the NIT and that number has the chance to balloon by six more today as the mid-major conference tournaments wrap up. Potential bid stealers include: Louisiana Tech, Western Michigan, Georgia St., Stephen F. Austin, North Carolina Central, and Weber St. The only one of those teams playing a team currently in the NIT is WMU, who is taking on Toledo in the MAC finals. The Broncos don’t have nearly the resume as the Rockets, so it would still cause some shuffling in the brackets. The other six would all lead to NIT bubble collapsing within itself. There is only a 9% chance that all of the No. 1 seeds are victorious today.
NCAA teams in: Dayton, BYU, Stanford, Providence
1. Florida St.
8. FLORIDA GULF COAST
4. Southern Miss
2. St. John’s
7. BOSTON UNIVERSITY
8. ROBERT MORRIS
4. West Virginia
6. Indiana St.
7. UC IRVINE
8. UTAH VALLEY
4. Illinois %
6. Saint Mary’s
2. GREEN BAY
1. N.C. State
8. HIGH POINT
% Illinois can’t host. This game would be played at Maryland.
Teams that just missed the cut: Ohio, San Francisco, Indiana, Middle Tennessee St., Tulsa, Akron
Good teams that should seriously be considering CBI and CIT bids: UTEP, UC Santa Barbara, Towson, Boise St., Oregon St., Washington, Ole Miss, St. Bonaventure, Buffalo
The final four teams into the field are highlighted in red today because I wanted to make sure everyone knows who is still in trouble. Since my last bracket I’ve brought Clemson, Indiana St. and Richmond back in. The Spiders did enough in Brooklyn, NY to convince me. So did the Tigers in Greensboro, NC in the ACC tournament, despite losing to Duke.
Some of these teams are excellent basketball teams. The first four deserve to play in a tournament like the NIT, there’s just no room for them. I suppose the biggest complain I’m going to get is: How the heck did you take Indiana St. over Indiana?!? Some of it is thanks to the wonders of the RPI. By almost any rational system the Hoosiers are a better team than the Sycamores. For instance, KenPom has IU 73rd and ISU 105th. That’s basically reversed in RPI. Though I would note that according to Jeff Sagarin’s Pure Elo ranking ISU actually has a better “resume” (79 vs. 89). That’s the power of six more wins when you’re looking at a pure win/loss system. Thus, based on the criteria that is typically used to evaluate tournament teams, I have to go with Indiana St.
Your next, quite logical, question might be: How the heck did 17-15 Maryland get in? Well, they beat Virginia and the Providence win looks better now. The other thing UMD has? No bad losses. They went 12-0 against teams 100+ in the RPI. Indiana went 11-4 in those sames games losing at home to both Penn St. and Northwestern. The Terrapins have their faults, but they took care of business against Miami (FL), Wake Forest, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech and the rest of the also rans in the ACC. The Hoosiers didn’t.
And so, we’ve ended up here. After being a Top 5 team in the country last season, Tom Crean’s team will be sweating out Selection Sunday during the NIT show on ESPN. How quickly worlds can turn.
Of course a few more automatic bids today could make all these point moot anyways…