There are 67 college basketball games tonight, so I wanted to make this NIT bracket was published before then.
It’s especially important because there are a number of games that could really upend this bracket. (Or the NCAA bracket above it.)
For instance, Memphis beating SMU would be a huge help for the Tigers’ NIT resume. Same with Stanford beating USC—in that case it would also help the Cardinal project over .500.
Then there’s the Nebraska-Penn St. game tonight, which will most likely eliminate the loser from NIT consideration. (Neither is in the bracket today because they’re currently both projected to finish under .500.)
If your team isn’t in this bracket know that I considered a ton of teams. I also found myself reconsidering Evansville. The Purple Aces have a much better resume than you might think from just looking at good wins and losses. They also have a great opportunity on Saturday when they host Northern Iowa in their Missouri Valley Conference finale.
But one of the biggest shakeups has to do with a team that no longer projects to finish above .500. Georgetown has some good wins this season, but a three-game losing streak has sent the Hoyas to 14-14 overall and 7-8 in the Big East. KenPom sees them losing two of three down the stretch, so unless G’town does some damage in the Big East tournament they wouldn’t qualify for the NIT. A big game to watch? Tuesday, March 1 when Georgetown travels to Marquette for what could be another NIT eliminator style game.
Now for the bracket. As always this is a projection of what will happen on Selection Sunday—including team projections through the end of the season—and is thus based on more than the resumes of today.
Last into NCAA tournament: Texas Tech, Wisconsin, Saint Mary’s, VCU, Tulsa, Cincinnati, Colorado, Pittsburgh, Michigan, Florida, St. Bonaventure, Syracuse, Vanderbilt
NIT bracket (italics are in danger of losing spots to potential automatic bids):
1. George Washington
8. Boise St.
4. Kansas St.
2. Florida St.
8. Illinois St.
7. Fresno St.
8. James Madison
4. Georgia Tech
7. Northern Iowa
1. Oregon St.
8. UC Irvine
5. Arizona St.
2. Ohio St.
Seriously considered: Southern Illinois, Pepperdine, Columbia, Oakland, UT Arlington, Siena, Louisiana Tech, UTEP, Memphis, Towson, New Mexico, Northwestern, Nevada, Ohio, Iona, MTSU, Long Beach St., Virginia Tech, William & Mary
Projected under .500: Nebraska, N.C. State, Arkansas, Tennessee, Penn St., Stanford, Georgetown