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):
8. Illinois St.
7. Central Michigan
5. Stephen F. Austin
3. Old Dominion
1. North Carolina St.
4. Seton Hall
6. George Washington
7. Oregon St.
1. Rhode Island
8. Arizona St.
4. St. Mary’s
3. Green Bay
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