NIT Bracketology: March 9

Note: The NIT bracket has a new permanent home. I’ll still be posting with thoughts, but that will always have my most recent bracket.

We’re coming down the home stretch. This is latest and greatest in NIT bracketology.

A couple notes about this bracket. The NCAA recently announced that the “first four out” will automatically become the No. 1 seeds in the NIT. I guess this makes logical sense. I tried to mimic this behavior with my top seeds.

The auto bids have also begun being claimed. As of Sunday night, three teams — Murray State, Bucknell and Charleston Southern — who lost in their conference tournament appear in this bracket. They’re in bold. The Racers would’ve made it without the automatic bid, but Bucknell and Charleston Southern kicked two (albeit undeserving anyways) teams out of the bracket.

Kansas State is still under .500 overall. Their resume is also pretty good, though the Wildcats’ RPI is a very NIT bubblish 88. For now I’m including them in the bracket, but they could easily be eliminated shortly or make a run in the Big 12 title game. Who knows.

The Ivy League playoff on Saturday presents an interesting dilemma for the NIT. Harvard and Yale both have quite similar resumes and the final game against each other isn’t going to change much. Since KenPom has the Bulldogs as the slightest of favorites I’ve included the Crimson in this bracket and they’re teetering right on the auto bid bubble line. My gut tells me the NIT would probably take an Ivy playoff loser, but it’s certainly not guaranteed.

I will probably just be updating this bracket will as conference tournament play goes along until at least Thursday evening, i.e. replacing automatic bids if necessary and moving teams up and down if warranted. Expect a fresh bracket Friday morning and a final bracket on Sunday.

Last 8 NCAA tournament teams: Cincinnati, Texas, Indiana, Purdue, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Temple, BYU

Note: Boise State was given the Mountain West automatic NCAA tournament bid since they’re the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament.

NIT Tournament Bracket:

Bold: Automatic Bid
Italics: Bubble Due To Potential Automatic Bids

1. N.C. State
8. Charleston Southern
4. Buffalo
5. Minnesota
3. Richmond
6. Seton Hall
2. Murray State
7. Memphis

1. Miami (FL)
8. St. Francis Brooklyn
4. Green Bay
5. St. Mary’s
3. Illinois State
6. Harvard
2. Stanford

8. Bucknell
4. George Washington
5. Vanderbilt
3. Alabama
6. Arizona State
2. Old Dominion
7. Michigan

1. Illinois
8. William & Mary
4. Rhode Island
5. Iona
3. Pittsburgh
6. Connecticut
2. Tulsa
7. South Dakota St.

CBI/CIT: There are a ton of teams. If you’re interested in the ones we think have the best shot, we’re tracking known bids and interest on our postseason page. Note that it only includes eliminated teams, so there are no major conference teams on the list yet. A few that would make sense: Northwestern, TCU, Florida St., Penn St., Oregon St., and California.

Update (3/9/2015, 8:56 p.m.): William & Mary has been eliminated by Northeastern in the CAA finals. The Tribe knocked the last at-large, Kent State, out of the bracket.

Update (3/9/2015, 11:31 p.m.): Iona has been eliminated by Manhattan in the MAAC finals. The Jaspers knocked Toledo from the last at-large spot. Iona entered the bracket as a six seed and pushed Clemson and Kansas State down one seed line each.

Update (3/10/2015, 9:16 p.m.): St. Francis Brooklyn has been eliminated by Robert Morris in the NEC finals. The Terriers knocked Kansas State from the last at-large spot.

Update (3/10/2015, 11:46 p.m.): South Dakota St. has been eliminated by North Dakota State in the Summit League final. The Jackrabbits knocked Clemson out of the last at-large spot. Also, I’ve done some re-evaluation of the bracket. Minnesota’s loss to Penn State dropped the Gophers further down the RPI ladder than expected and I’ve dropped them from a 2 to a 5 seed. I moved Murray State, Richmond and George Washington up one line each because of that shift. I also moved Iona up a line to a 5 seed after looking more at their profile. The Gaels just have a lot of wins. They’re now a 5 seed and Seton Hall dropped a line to a 6. I’ll have a fully updated and re-evaluated bracket on Thursday.

39 thoughts on “NIT Bracketology: March 9

  1. geoAZ

    The loser of tonight’s MAAC championship, gives any of these teams a tussle, Iona’s in, if they lose, but not, Manhattan ?? they are playing very good basketball, when it counts most. A # of these “invited” teams built their resumes beating each other !

    1. John Templon Post author

      Sadly there’s no way Manhattan would make the NIT. The Jaspers have an RPI in the 190s, which is way beyond consideration land. Interestingly, Iona – even if it didn’t have the automatic bid – would probably get strong consideration. If the Gaels lose tonight I’d expect to see them on the 4/5 line in the NIT.

  2. jon

    Wow, it would be interesting if this bracket held true for the Murray State Racers. They could potentially face: Clemson, Memphis and NC State. Captain Justin Seymour is a Clemson transfer and then Memphis passed over local future NBA’r Cam Payne while Mark Gottfried is a former Murray State head coach. Not getting an NCAA tourney bid really sucks for Racers but wins over those teams would be very satisfying for Murray State.

    1. Brandon

      Sorry, Seymour is not a Clemson transfer and he is not Captain. He is a Utah transfer and 6th man. Also a 3 seed for Murray is still disrespectful. They deserve ncaa bid they are one of the hottest teams. 1 loss since Nov. 29th on a fade away 3 from a team that hit 15 threes in the game. I know there aren’t any good wins but they tried, coach lobbied for espn tournamnet he asked for home and home no one will play Murray. They did have a few bad losses early in season but that was really a different team. Farrell was out with injury and a post reserve was out because of a clerical error with admissions. Imo they have proved themselves worthy.

      1. John Templon Post author

        Sorry, there’s no way that Murray State is getting an NCAA bid. Best case scenario is that they’re in the First Four Out and end up with a #1 seed in the NIT. Could definitely see that happening. It’s not Murray State’s fault the Ohio Valley Conference didn’t provide a ton of competition, but had to do more in non-conference. Also, you’re not getting home-and-homes if you’re a good mid-major school. Have to take whatever you can get.

        1. James Smith

          John Templton, I don’t know if you watched that game Belmont and Murray played and the way they play in the NCAA time in and time out, aka Murray getting to the round of 32 and almost winning the last two times they were in the tourney. Too much stock is put into the big conference teams, give me teams like Murray and Belmont over all the waterdowned big 5 conference teams. Competiton in the OVC, EKU beat Miami by 30, who beat Duke. Murray beat by WKU by double digits, WKU beat Ole Miss at Ole Miss and Ole Miss is one of the closest teams taking UK to overtime. So don’t tell me there is not competition, did you watch that game, all the analysts are saying its one of the 10 best GAMES of the season. Get off your big conference teams rule because of completion being better, that is subjective and I hope a team like Murray or Murray goes out and beats your favorite team since you feel they don’t play anybody.

          1. Colby

            You obviously have no clue what site you’re on if you’re calling John Templon a “big conference schools rule” guy.

  3. Jeff

    Wow, real fair system that judges programs by SOS, then won’t fairly schedule with them. It’s a joke where the big budget programs are scared of non-big budget programs, so they tilt every metric to their advantage. Kinda reminds me of the way whites treated blacks during Jim Crow.

  4. Jeff U

    How do you feel about Illinois State? Know wont make the Big Dance. Got a big win over #8 Wichita St and just couldn’t hold off a senior laden #11 Northern Iowa ( 69-60 loss) for MVC tourney title. Could they be a 3-4 seed in the NIT??

    1. John Templon Post author

      I like Illinois State. I think they’ve got a resume, hence the reason they’re so high in the bracket. They definitely deserve a home game in the NIT. We’ll see if they get one.

        1. John Templon Post author

          Florida is not automatically excluded from NIT consideration for its below .500 overall record, but… It makes it highly unlikely. I believe the Gators at least have to win their SEC tournament opener against Alabama to make the NIT field. Kansas State, which is down to an 8 seed, is in a similar boat. I’ve seriously considered Florida for every bracket this season – you can look at the NIT archives for proof. Beating Alabama and losing to Kentucky – TOUGH DRAW – might be enough, but it would depend a lot on how many automatic bids there were and some creative thinking by the committee. I’d find it surprising if they went that direction.

          1. Benny

            Florida has beaten Alabama now 10 straight times. They lost to Kentucky by 1 and 6 points, I believe the closest total of any team playing KY twice. Elite 8 past 4 years. Played 1/4 of season without top 2 players who are now back.

            NIT would be crazy not to include Florida. Big draw. Won 3 of last 4 against SEC competition, only lose to KY.

            I’m not sure any of the 6-8 seeds in the above bracket could hang with Florida.

            Just my opinion.

          2. John Templon Post author

            Well all the 8 seeds and some of the 7 seeds are automatic bids. Florida is also currently at .500, so losing to Kentucky would put them back under. I personally think Florida (as an under .500 team) makes more sense than Kansas Sate, but I don’t know if the NIT would take either. If the Gators beat Kentucky though… They’re definitely in.

  5. Packngators

    You are crazy if you think NC State is not in the NCAAs. They have won 5 of their last 6 conference games, beaten 4 Hall of Fame coaches this season, at UNC, at Louisville, home against Duke and home against Syracuse. They are a lock in most other websites and are projected as a 9 seed in Lunardi’s latest bracket which is not even close to the bubble.

    1. John Templon Post author

      If I was NC State I wouldn’t lose early in the ACC tournament, but I’ll be looking at them closely over the next few days before my next bracket comes out for sure.

  6. Hunter Phillips

    What about TCU? 4 wins in the best conference, undefeated non conference. If you watch them, they play every team closely. I honestly think they would be in the “big dance” in any other conference. They would even be ranked if they were in the SEC or something. What do you think about them and their NIT chances?

    1. John Templon Post author

      TCU’s RPI is 134. The wins look good, but there’s no chance that they’re making the NIT. Fascinating opening game against Kansas State in the B12 tournament though.

      1. Hunter Phillips

        What if they beat Kansas St and Kansas in the big 12 tournament, and what % chance do u give TCU of upsetting Kansas. Would 2+ wins get them in?

        1. John Templon Post author

          Yeah, that might do it. KenPom gives TCU a 59% chance of beating Kansas State. I assume that the chances of beating Kansas is down in like the 16% chance or so… Maybe there’s a 10% overall chance of both happening? (Those are rough numbers.)

  7. PSUFanatic

    Penn State has a good lineup in the B1G tournament. If they defeat Nebraska they seem to be a lock for a CBI bid, if they go on to defeat Iowa and then Purdue (both of which they lost in OT), then their NIT prospects suddenly rise. Especially if other teams flop in this NIT bracket. Otherwise, PSU will likely get a CBI bid.

    1. Hunter Phillips

      What do YOU think about TCU and Kansas St. today. I don’t want any % I just wanna know who u think will win and by how much

  8. Jake

    I don’t understand how South Dakota State bumped a team? South Dakota State and North Dakota State shared the Summit League regular season title. Since only one team can come out of the Summit League Tournament for the NCAA, one of those teams was always going to end up in the NIT under the new rules, right?

    1. John Templon Post author

      The NIT rules state that all teams that were ranked No. 1 in their conference tournament that fail to win it are granted an automatic bid. South Dakota St. was the No. 1 seed in the Summit League tournament and thus are granted an automatic bid by virtue of their loss to North Dakota St. last night. If NDSU had lost they’d be in the CIT or CBI probably because they were the No. 2 seed. Hence why a bid was stolen.

  9. NoleNation

    After that dub against Clemson (scary as it was) could we sneak into the field or is a win against Virginia a must?

    1. John Templon Post author

      I think Florida State probably needs to beat Virginia to make it. The ‘Noles might be in my bracket tonight, but there are more automatic bids coming.

      1. PSUFanatic

        How about PSU’s chances with the win over Nebraska? Could they get in solely with a win over Iowa or would they have to beat Purdue too?

        1. John Templon Post author

          A win over Iowa might be enough, but it’ll probably take more. There are likely more automatic bids coming and that’s going to tighten up the at-large field. There are still 9 No. 1 seeds that might need an automatic berth into the NIT, so that could be another seed line gone.

  10. Pingback: Big Ten Tournament: What each team has on the line in Chicago – The Catch and Shoot

    1. John Templon Post author

      I have Colorado State in the NCAA tournament (I believe most people do). The Mountain West is quite top heavy this season. UNLV and Wyoming are the logical candidates, but neither’ resume seems to warrant inclusion in the field right now.

  11. Gatorbait

    I find it hard to see how Florida can’t be in the NIT even if they lose to Kentucky on Friday and finish with a losing record. They had an RPI rank of 75 and a BPI of 38 before today’s win over Alabama and a Pomeroy ranking of 45 after the game. So how can Alabama be penciled in as a #3 seed and Florida not in at all after Florida beat Alabama for the second time this season?

    1. John Templon Post author

      Well, the BPI and KenPom numbers (sadly) don’t matter. The RPI is in the typical range, but I’ll repeat this again… The NIT has NEVER taken a team with a losing record and it would take some extraordinary circumstances for it to happen. That’s why I think Florida could be on the outside looking in, especially if there are say 5 more automatic bids added to the field before the end of the week.

      1. Hunter Phillips

        After playing Kansas close today what do think about TCU getting in the NIT, if they made it they would do great

        1. John Templon Post author

          Think TCU is a fascinating team. But they’re really hurt by RPI. It was 126 coming into today (per CBS). It’s just not going to be in a reasonable range. The 348th out of conference schedule will do that to you.


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