Now that it’s almost February, it’s time for another round of NIT Bracketology. This is the first official, hand-curated bracket from NYC Buckets this season.
One of the important reminders is that teams in the 7 and 8 seed lines—and potentially even the 6 line—are bubble teams because those spots could be handed out to small conference champions that don’t win their conference tournament. There are typically between 8 to 12 of those teams each season.
In addition, one of the interesting things is the current “West Coast bias” of the backend of the bracket. There are a number of teams from the Mountain and Pacific Time Zones in the bottom three seed lines. It would be interesting to see what the committee did under those circumstances in terms of getting geographically sound matchups.
The hand-curated update notably changes the fortunes of two teams. Pittsburgh and Vanderbilt were three and four seeds respectively in my last computerized bracket, but drop out of the field here entirely because I’m not sure they’ll finish above .500.
A big drop inside the bracket comes from BYU, but I tend to underrate the Cougars relative to how the committee has treated them in the past (I’m not sure why). Another team to watch is Chattanooga. A recent two-game losing streak has slid the Mocs entirely out of this bracket despite being ranked 81st in KenPom, which is ahead of teams like Penn St., Ole Miss and Charleston. If Matt McCall’s team was to close the season strong there’s still a chance they could earn an NIT berth.
And now the bracket. Expect another one in two weeks and then at least weekly until Selection Sunday.
3. Ohio St.
2. Rhode Island
7. Mississippi St.
8. Colorado St.
5. Penn St.
6. Boise St.
4. Texas Tech
5. Texas A&M
3. Seton Hall
7. Ole Miss
8. Arkansas St.
3. N.C. State
6. New Mexico
2. Georgia Tech
7. San Diego St.
Just Missed: Chattanooga, Ohio, Eastern Michigan, Iona, Winthrop
Also considered (likely CIT/CBI teams): Tulsa, St. Bonaventure, UCF, George Mason, Loyola (IL), Missouri St., San Francisco, Elon, Northeastern, UNCG, Furman, Georgia Southern, Yale, Harvard, Saint Peter’s, Oakland, La Tech, UAB, Old Dominion, New Hampshire, Cal St. Bakersfield, Sam Houston St.
Projected Under .500: Texas, Oklahoma, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Vanderbilt
Bubble (in NCAA): Clemson, Wichita St., California, Tennessee, Michigan St., Indiana, Michigan, Marquette, Miami FL, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma St., Wake Forest