The NIT bracket is out and the road to Madison Square Garden begins. Here’s a quick look at the choices the committee made and how projections fared.
Valparaiso and Georgia Tech ultimately made it into the bracket where I had UNC Asheville and Ohio State instead. Thirty of 32 teams is about my running average, so I’m not too excited about it. It’s also always fun when the committee chair comes on ESPNU and says that the two other teams they seriously considered were the two teams in my bracket that were left out. C’est la vie when it comes to bracket projections.
Valparaiso and Georgia Tech each come with their downsides. Valpo will be playing without their best player, Alec Peters, when they head to Champaign, IL to take on Illinois. Georgia Tech has really struggled on the road this season and had an RPI of 106, which makes them one of the highest to get into the field in the past five years. Good news though for Yellow Jacket fans. They lucked into a home game as a No. 6 seed because Indiana can’t host its first round game. Both choices by the committee are certainly defensible.
There were only two teams that I had in the field that I missed by more than 1 seed line: UT Arlington and TCU. UT Arlington, the regular season champion in the Sun Belt, was absolutely screwed. They had in RPI in the mid-40s, were 12-7 against the Top 200 and 22-7 overall, including a win at St. Mary’s during non-conference. But they find themselves going to BYU in the first round.
TCU on the other hand is a fascinating case. The Horned Frogs at one point looked like they might reach NCAA Tournament, but were ultimately done in by a loss to Iowa State in the Big 12 Tournament. This is a team that beat Kansas (albeit a slightly short-handed Kansas team) on a neutral court three days ago. They’ll be an absolute bear for Iowa to play if that’s the second round matchup.
After all that though the brackets went relatively smoothly. Paymon scoring is how The Bracket Project scores NCAA Bracketologists and how I like to look at my performance. This season I scored 154 points. That was tops among the three main sites that do NIT Bracketology. The Bracket Project’s NIT Bracket scored 150 and DRatings scored 133.
Enjoy all the games this next week!