NIT Bracketology: Attempt #1

I’ve been doing NIT Bracketology now for three seasons. (Thanks Northwestern.) This is my first attempt for the 2011-12 season and unfortunately, after the Wildcats’ loss to Ohio State, they appear to be back on the wrong side of the bubble. There’s one New York area team in my projected NIT bracket as well.

Before we begin three caveats and three lessons I’ve learned over multiple seasons of doing this.


  1. This is really early in the season to be doing Bracketology. Conference play hasn’t started and so some major conference teams have inflated records. I think that’s causing an unruly number of Big East teams to get into my NIT bracket right now, but they all deserve to be there.
  2. Because it’s early in the season you had to be above .500 to be considered. Technically this isn’t a requirement anymore.
  3. The CIT/CBI list isn’t any order. Those are just the other teams that I considered.


  1. If there’s a big name team available the NIT is going to take them. This is a for-profit enterprise that includes a bit of basketball. That applies to every tournament that’s not the NCAA tournament.
  2. As a corollary to the first rule, seeds aren’t necessarily fair when the final bracket is released. Harvard had to go to Oklahoma State last season, which was ridiculous.
  3. Six to eight of these bubbles will burst because regular season champions get in no matter what. When the madness gets hot in March the bracket it affects the most is actually the NIT.

With those out of the way. Onto the brackets:

Last 10 into NCAA:

  • Seton Hall
  • Northern Iowa (Wichita State is current Missouri Valley champion)
  • Marshall (Memphis is current C-USA champion)
  • Purdue
  • Dayton
  • Arizona
  • N.C. State
  • West Virginia
  • Denver (Middle Tennessee is current Sun Belt champion)
  • Southern Miss

The NIT Bracket:

1. Northwestern
8. Missouri State
4. Oral Roberts
5. Nebraska
3. Iowa State
6. Boise State
2. Mississippi
7. Miami (FL)

1.  Virginia Tech
8. WAGNER (Robert Morris is current NEC champion)
4. Arkansas
5. Massachusetts
3. Oklahoma
6. Notre Dame
2. Stanford
7. Colorado State

1. BYU (St. Mary’s is current WCC champion, Gonzaga at-large)
8. Colorado
4. New Mexico
5. Oregon
3. TCU
6. Maryland
2. LSU
7. Drake

1. Pittsburgh
8. Indiana State
4. UCF
5. Villanova
3. Charleston
6. Georgia
2. Cleveland State
7. Cincinnati

Possible CBI/CIT Teams: Utah Valley (Great West champion), Cal Fullerton, Cal Poly, Fairfield, Bucknell, La Salle, Loyola (Md.), MANHATTAN, Oakland, San Francisco, Tulane, Oregon State, Wake Forest, Washington, Washington State, Yale, Duquesne, Richmond, South Alabama, Rutgers, Auburn, Providence, Santa Clara, Utah State, Charlotte, DePaul, Kent State, Nevada, Georgia State, North Dakota, Wyoming. (Note: I project UCLA and Oklahoma State would turn down bids if they didn’t make the NIT.)

I expect there will be a ton of changes to this bracket when I release a new one at the end of January, but here’s where we stand for now. Have at me in the comment if you disagree with something. I’ll be happy to explain my logic.

2 thoughts on “NIT Bracketology: Attempt #1

  1. Big ups for such an early attempt, John, always fun either way. I’m assuming you see Butler making the NCAA, and Milwaukee/Valpo maybe not getting any invitations.

    Maybe it’s me, but it seems like Milwaukee has to end up somewhere.


    1. Butler is 7-7, so ended up not being considered at all. That’s one of the early season quirks inherent in when I’m doing this. Milwaukee is the projected Horizon League champion at 3-0 over everyone else’s 2-0. So they’re sitting pretty in the NCAA tournament right now. They’d definitely be considered for the NIT if not. I don’t know what to do with Valparaiso. They’ve got a pretty weak profile and probably need to beat Milwaukee and Butler in conference play to get considered even for the CBI/CIT this season.


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