NIT Bracketology: Feb. 22

Note: There is a new NIT bracket out.

First off. There are two teams not in this latest edition of NIT bracketology that I probably have to explain. Both Florida and Kansas State aren’t in my 32 NIT teams. Why? Because neither currently projects to have a winning record.

The NIT has never taken a team with a losing record — though it is allowed to — but Florida and KSU will both make interesting cases if it comes down to it. The Gators are currently ranked 35th in KenPom, but have had some of the worst luck of any team in the country and are projected to finish 15-16 overall. I believe they’d need to go 2-1 in the SEC tournament to even get a look from the NIT. Quite frankly, Kansas State just isn’t that good, despite whatever Eamonn Brennan — who I generally think is great — says in this ESPN piece. The Wildcats play in the brutal Big 12 and have lost eight of their last 10 and rank 93rd in Pomeroy. They project to finish 14-17, which would be well below the line necessary for inclusion.

Who you will see? A number of deserving teams. The top of this bracket will all be wishing they were in the NCAA tournament, but it would certainly be a competitive fight to even get to Madison Square Garden.

If you want a second opinion — which likes Arizona St. and Connecticut way more than I do and includes Florida — you can check out The NIT Bracket Project. I’ll also have another bracket next week. Comments welcome, just keep them civil.

Final 10 Into NCAA tournament: Dayton, Georgia, Boise St., Iowa, Purdue, LSU, Stanford, Miami (FL), Oregon, Cincinnati

NIT Bracket (bubble in italics – last 10 spots due to potential auto-bids):

1. Illinois
8. Illinois St.
4. Wyoming
5. Alabama
3. Tulsa
6. Michigan
2. Massachusetts
7. Central Michigan

8. Connecticut
5. Stephen F. Austin
3. Old Dominion
6. Yale
2. Davidson
7. Memphis

1. North Carolina St.
8. California
4. Seton Hall
5. Buffalo
3. Clemson
6. George Washington
2. BYU
7. Oregon St.

1. Rhode Island
8. Arizona St.
4. St. Mary’s
5. Tennessee
3. Green Bay
6. Minnesota
2. Pittsburgh
7. La Salle

Others considered: 67 teams, so too many to list.

Power conference teams that might want to start pondering if they want a CBI bid: TCU, Penn St., Florida St., Nebraska, Vanderbilt, Washington

10 thoughts on “NIT Bracketology: Feb. 22

  1. George Clark

    The second team in the Ivy League clearly deserves a bid this year, whether it is Yale, as things stand today, or Harvard. Until the Crimson went to Charlottesville and the Bulldogs to Gainesville I thought this just might be the year for an At-Large, but the NIT is a nice platform, nevertheless.. Our League is good…and getting better.

  2. geoAZ

    If I’m not mistaken, the NIT is now run by the NCAA. Whether it is or not, however, why not make a substantive adjustment and reward the leagues that have consistently been one bid. As George Clark noted the Ivy is highly competitive and has generally been for years, their #2 team should get an “automatic” NIT bid, as would a number of other solid leagues, ie. the MAAC and others. Your bracket includes Michigan and ASU, for example and they’ve had all year to prove they belong, with little or no results. Set up the brackets deliberately with, let’s say 5/6 teams from the multiple bid leagues, but you must have a winning record in your conference, and then the mid-major types, like a Harvard or Yale or Iona or Rider and let those leagues know, those bids are automatic !

    1. John Templon Post author

      The NIT is now run by the NCAA, that is correct. It is why teams that are the #1 seed in their conference tournament that don’t make the NCAA tournament are given an automatic bid to the NIT. There are typically between 10-12 of those teams each season. For instance, if Iona doesn’t win the MAAC they’ll be guaranteed a berth in the NIT. Michigan is an interesting team for the NIT bracket, they’ve got a resume that generally appears to be NIT worthy, but are teetering close to the .500 mark. I doubt Arizona State will ultimately make it. In general we need a new way of evaluating teams so that scheduling disparities do less to create “haves” and “have nots” in terms of a team’s ability to get quality wins. To that end I’d highly suggest this piece by Michael James:

  3. geoAZ

    John, First, congratulations on your site, your writers passion and knowledge of the game is on par with any other sports site out there, it’s a great read and serves it’s customer base very well.

    I didn’t make my original point clear enough, sorry. While I’m aware of Iona’s situation, I’m suggesting that the MAAC should be “guaranteed” an NIT spot, if the Gaels make the NCAA. Further, that “guarantee” should be extended to other traditional “one-bid” conferences, like the Ivy. Those who truly love the game, would much prefer to see a Rider challenge a supposed Power 5, than a Michigan. Who didn’t totally enjoy the Manhattan-Louisville game last year ?

    As to my Michigan reference, they have a losing record, albeit with games to go, in their conference and to me that should be a Big Dance, disqualifier. OSU is another “suspicious” qualifier. Thad loaded the non-conference with “who’s”, that he played at home, resulting in my opinion, to their poor away BIG record and other than watching Russell, they are an eyesore.

    As to the referenced article, Thank You, well written and thought out. Yes, the committee can improve it’ s use of analytical formulae, but I like the “eyeball” test a committee employs. I would, however, like to see the perception of one bid leagues, disappear.

    Great job, by all. Thank You, Respectfully, George

  4. Rico

    It seems odd to include LaSalle and GW while omitting Richmond from the A-10.

    The Spiders’ numbers in both the RPI and KenPom are considerably better than either of those teams. Frankly, it is not even close in either case.

    Both sites also predict that UR will finish two games clear of both teams in the conference standings.

    1. John Templon Post author

      The case between George Washington and Richmond is razor thin at this point. I believe you’re right though in that the Spiders should’ve probably have been included in the bottom of the at-large group instead of La Salle, especially after Sunday’s results. All three of those teams are on the bubble. Beating VCU tomorrow would be a great way for the Spiders to be in next week’s NIT bracket.

  5. George Clark

    Thanks for the link to the James piece. Fascinating and provocative. If I understand his analysis, by no means a sure thing, Harvard would be in the At-Large conversation based on its performance if it failed to win the Ivy title. Perhaps, SHOULD be in the conversation is more accurate, although I concede that the committee is not likely to put itself out on that limb. My argument would be that this Harvard team is of the same caliber as its recent tournament teams which advanced. If Yale were to edge the Crimson for the title the conclusion should be that Yale is good, but not that Harvard is “bad.”

    1. geoAZ

      George, agree ! if in the “power” conferences, you can’t play to even .500, don’t win your post-season tournament, you’ve run out of opportunities…NIT or bust and I even have reservations about you going there ! would love to see 2 Ivy’s in NCAA !!

      PS Seth Davis has an interesting piece today on on NCAA committee “myths”.

  6. RJ

    With this late run at the end of the year, Northwestern is sitting at 14-14 on the back of 4 straight Big Ten wins. If they end up with a winning record or a .500 record, could you see them in the picture?

    1. John Templon Post author

      As a Northwestern grad (Medill grad school), I’ve been making jokes on Twitter about this run enhancing NU’s CBI bid, but it’s starting to get to the point where there’s a real conversation about whether the Wildcats can make the NIT. They probably need to finish over .500 and that requires either winning all three of their final games or winning 1 in the B1G Tournament. If NU wins their final 7 regular season games the Wildcats would almost definitely make the NIT. Barring that surprising occurrence though I’d expect them to just miss out. But I’ll at least consider them in next week’s bracket.


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