Category Archives: NIT

Wagner left out of NIT, finishes 25-6

The NIT bracket is out. Iona isn’t on it. Wagner isn’t either. The difference is the emotions those two teams are feeling right now.

For the Gaels’ it’s about relief and a second chance. Their selection as an at-large bid, just the second in MAAC history, is an opportunity to make good on all the promise the season has held for them. The First Four in Dayton on Tuesday night against BYU will be a showcase for the Gaels. But more on that later.

For the Seahawks’ there is probably disappointment on Staten Island tonight. Even with 25 wins, the most of any team not selected to play in either the NCAA tournament of the NIT, it’s a tough reality to grasp.

The NIT Selection Committee, much like their cousins in the NCAA selection room, are charged with picking the best teams they can for at-large bids. The unfortunate thing is that they don’t know how many they’ll get to pick until late in Championship Week. This season 11 teams earned automatic berths by winning their conference’s regular season title and failing to win their conference tournament.

Five of those teams ended up on the bottom two seed lines, meaning they wouldn’t have gotten in any other way. One wonders if Stony Brook had beaten Vermont on Long Island on Saturday morning if things would’ve been different for the Seahawks.

Charged with picking the “best” remaining 21 teams, the committee did about the best job it could. (I’ll talk about La Salle and Cleveland State in my next post.)

Part of Wagner’s problem was that their opponents during non-conference play couldn’t hold up their end of the bargain. Princeton and Penn did compete for an Ivy League title, but Pittsburgh crashed, Santa Clara fell apart (not winning another game) and Air Force stumbled after the Seahawks beat them. It made the resume a little less impressive. Instead of a Top 50 victory Pittsburgh became barely a Top 100 win.

You do the best you can at the beginning of the season to make a schedule that: 1) Is achievable with the current team. 2) Is competitive. 3) Will put you in a place for a postseason bid. Wagner did almost everything they could’ve done, but for the Seahawks it just wasn’t quite enough.

It’s sad that not getting selected means the end of the road for teams like Wagner. Two other NEC teams, Robert Morris (CIT) and Quinnipiac (CBI), will be playing postseason basketball outside of the NCAA tournament.¬†Wagner decided not to pursue postseason basketball after getting passed over by the NIT. It’s understandable, but it means a swift, unexpected end to a season that went so far and meant so much.

NIT Bracketology: March 11

Here we are once again. Selection Sunday is upon us. For this bracket I did a complete scrub of all the seeds. I also started taking into account the fact that some major conference teams can make offers to host that the NCAA just can’t turn down. In the back of my head the Iowa quote about making a competitive offer keeps coming up. The Hawkeyes are definitely in the field in my opinion — they just have so many good wins it’d be hard to turn them down — but for the first time I have them playing Round 1 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

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Key NIT Games Today

The games have already started with Stony Brook hosting Vermont in the America East championship, but today’s slate of 22 games offers many potential minefields for potential NIT teams. Here are the games you should be paying attention to if your team is currently on the bubble.

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NIT Bracketology: March 10

When doing NIT Bracketology we’ve reached a point where there are too many good teams to squeeze into too few slots. Considering there are deserving mid-majors that want to play in the NIT (like Wagner, Princeton, Illinois State, Northern Iowa, etc.) and a number of major conference teams (like Mississippi State, Illinois, Pittsburgh) that really struggled down the stretch it’s tough to project exactly what will happen.
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Important NIT games to watch

The NIT keeps popping bubbles as teams take automatic bids to the tournament. The bubble teams are also making life incredibly difficult with losses. I’ll have a brand new bracket tomorrow morning. Considering many of the power conferences have their quarterfinal games today it’s a big time for NIT bubblers to make a run. Here are the games to keep an eye on.

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NIT Bracketology: March 8, 2012

As the major conference tournaments kick into high gear this week there’s a special type of bid stealer on the loose. High-major teams that have so-so records against their peers are hoping for one last shot to prove that they should play in the NIT this season. You see a lot of them at the bottom of the bracket already. UCLA, Pittsburgh, Colorado and LSU all sit somewhere around the cut-line. The Panthers in particular are an interesting case. They’re 17-16 overall after losing to Georgetown in the Big East Tournament, but the Panthers also have 14 losses to Top 100 competitors. I also watched them live on Tuesday and was sort of impressed. Is that enough to play in the NIT? I’m not really sure.

The Pac-12 tournament is just starting up and it should prove, along with the Atlantic 10 tournament, to be one of the tournaments that impacts this NIT bracket the most. UCLA, Colorado, Stanford, Arizona and Oregon have opportunities to play themselves out of the bracket (in both directions) during the next few days. Also, Arkansas, Maryland and New Mexico State all still have an opportunity to improve their resumes. Those three teams are sitting outside of the NIT looking in right now. Of course, more bid thieves could make this a moot point. Three are already hanging out at the bottom of the bracket.

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Projected NIT Bracket through March 4, 2012

Now there’s actually a reason for me to care about these NIT brackets with Iona and Wagner both hoping to get a bid. The last few teams into the NCAA Tournament here are some combination of Washington, Cincinnati, Mississippi State, Northwestern, South Florida, Texas and Seton Hall. Yeah, talk about a weak bubble. Thus if you’re wondering why the top of the NIT is a mess that’s why. The next bracket will come out on Thursday. All of this is highly subject to change.

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Season At A Glance — St. Francis (NY)

This is the first of what will eventually be capsules for each of the NYC teams when I’m sure their season has concluded.

Team: St. Francis (NY)

Record: 15-15 (12-6 in the NEC); season ended by 80-72 loss to Quinnipiac in NEC Quarterfinals

Season High: Winning at Robert Morris on Jan. 28, 81-68 to go to 8-2 in NEC play.

Season Low: Losing at Colgate 65-63 to drop to 2-6 overall.

Really Good At: Defense — The Terriers finished second in the NEC in per possession defensive efficiency. They were also an excellent defensive rebounding team on most nights.

Struggled With: Turnovers — SFC finished 10th in the NEC in turnover percentage – in a generally turnover prone league. Young players moving into new roles sometimes struggled with trying to do too much. It got better as the season progressed.

Key Losses:

  • Stefan Perunicic (11.6 PPG, 42.4% from three)
  • Justin Newton (defense, toughness and maturity at the point guard position)

Key Returnees:

  • Akeem Johnson, Jr., F
  • Jalen Cannon, Fr., F
  • Brent Jones, Fr., G
  • Dre Calloway, Sr., G (returns after missing most of 2011-12 to injury)

Key Quotes:

“I’m really happy that I had an opportunity to work with them. I wish them the best of luck and it was a really good season for me.” — Stefan Perunicic

“We put [the freshman] in the gym at the beginning of the year it was like mice running around. They had a lot of energy, but it was in a lot of different directions. It still is, but we’re getting better.” — Glenn Braica

“He was thrown to the fire. Some nights he played great. Some nights he struggled, but it’s all going to be better for him in the future. We’re going to get a lot of bang for our buck next year because of what he went through this year. He’s a very talented kid. He’s a hard worker. He’s got the right attitude. He’s a good kid and I just think he’s going to get better and better.” — Braica on Brent Jones

Outlook: Very positive. The Terriers surprised everyone this season by earning a home NEC tournament game after being picked to finish 11th in the conference before the season began. It earned head coach Glenn Braica the Jim Phelan NEC Coach of the Year award and there was a legitimate argument to be made that rebounding machine Jalen Cannon could’ve been the NEC’s Freshman of the Year as well. The majority of the core will return and it should give SFC the chance to compete for a home playoff game and more next season. Braica said that he expects to start at a higher level next season and that the team should progress quicker. Both suggest a tough team to contend with in Brooklyn Heights next season.

NIT Bracket based on EBS

Drew Cannon wrote about his Easiest Bubble Solver earlier this season. It’s a relatively easy formula. Add a team’s RPI and Ken Pomeroy rank together and voila. You get where a team might end up on the S-curve. If it is to be believed we could certainly see a two-bid CAA. VCU and Drexel are both hanging out right on the fringes of my latest update of EBS. But I’m not concerned about the NCAA tournament. Nope. I want to use EBS to figure out the NIT field. I did and here is what the formula came up with.

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