NIT Bracketology: March 15


This is my last NIT bracket until all the dust settles. Considering the Atlantic 10 final could include St. Bonaventure and Georgia St. still needs to win two games in the Sun Belt to avoid cashing in its NIT automatic bid the final bracket is probably coming tomorrow after those games.

NIT logoThere are now 11 automatic bids to the NIT and that number has the chance to balloon by six more today as the mid-major conference tournaments wrap up. Potential bid stealers include: Louisiana Tech, Western Michigan, Georgia St., Stephen F. Austin, North Carolina Central, and Weber St. The only one of those teams playing a team currently in the NIT is WMU, who is taking on Toledo in the MAC finals. The Broncos don’t have nearly the resume as the Rockets, so it would still cause some shuffling in the brackets. The other six would all lead to NIT bubble collapsing within itself. There is only a 9% chance that all of the No. 1 seeds are victorious today.

NCAA teams in: Dayton, BYU, Stanford, Providence

NIT Bracketology:

1. Florida St.
4. Southern Miss
5. LSU
3. Georgia
6. Richmond
2. St. John’s

1. Minnesota
4. West Virginia
3. Toledo
6. Indiana St.
2. Utah

1. California
4. Illinois %
5. Maryland
3. Marquette
6. Saint Mary’s

1. N.C. State
4. Arkansas
5. Clemson
3. Georgetown
2. Missouri

% Illinois can’t host. This game would be played at Maryland.

Teams that just missed the cut: Ohio, San Francisco, Indiana, Middle Tennessee St., Tulsa, Akron
Good teams that should seriously be considering CBI and CIT bids: UTEP, UC Santa Barbara, Towson, Boise St., Oregon St., Washington, Ole Miss, St. Bonaventure, Buffalo

The final four teams into the field are highlighted in red today because I wanted to make sure everyone knows who is still in trouble. Since my last bracket I’ve brought Clemson, Indiana St. and Richmond back in. The Spiders did enough in Brooklyn, NY to convince me. So did the Tigers in Greensboro, NC in the ACC tournament, despite losing to Duke.

Some of these teams are excellent basketball teams. The first four deserve to play in a tournament like the NIT, there’s just no room for them. I suppose the biggest complain I’m going to get is: How the heck did you take Indiana St. over Indiana?!? Some of it is thanks to the wonders of the RPI. By almost any rational system the Hoosiers are a better team than the Sycamores. For instance, KenPom has IU 73rd and ISU 105th. That’s basically reversed in RPI. Though I would note that according to Jeff Sagarin’s Pure Elo ranking ISU actually has a better “resume” (79 vs. 89). That’s the power of six more wins when you’re looking at a pure win/loss system. Thus, based on the criteria that is typically used to evaluate tournament teams, I have to go with Indiana St.

Your next, quite logical, question might be: How the heck did 17-15 Maryland get in? Well, they beat Virginia and the Providence win looks better now. The other thing UMD has? No bad losses. They went 12-0 against teams 100+ in the RPI. Indiana went 11-4 in those sames games losing at home to both Penn St. and Northwestern. The Terrapins have their faults, but they took care of business against Miami (FL), Wake Forest, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech and the rest of the also rans in the ACC. The Hoosiers didn’t.

And so, we’ve ended up here. After being a Top 5 team in the country last season, Tom Crean’s team will be sweating out Selection Sunday during the NIT show on ESPN. How quickly worlds can turn.

Of course a few more automatic bids today could make all these point moot anyways…

29 thoughts on “NIT Bracketology: March 15

    1. The Hogs have a better resume than Minnesota and SMU, and beat them! (Minnesota on a nuetral court) – swept Kentucky and won six of its last seven conference games. Not to mention gave Fla its best game in months! The hogs need a SOS RPI expert, that some of these bunk teams that somehow keep those numbers low despite not beating anyone. Throw out those two overhyped numbers? Flipflop the numbers in date column beside the Alabama and Kentucky games and their in! Wish it was tthat easy!


  1. No mention of Seton Hall who just got themselves to .500 by beating Villanova a likely 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, beat Georgetown (in your NIT bracket) twice, beat Xavier (going to the NCAA Tournament) twice and have a win over Providence (going to the NCAA Tournament).


      1. Wont their non-conference losses cancel themselves out? Mercer (Dancing) by 3 in OT2 and Oklahoma (Dancing and Ranked) by 1 cancel out the missteps against St. Peters and FDU?

        And surely a late season win against a Top 3 team must hold some merit


  2. Hi John.. I am a St. Mary’s Gaels fan and glad they made it in above. Just curious. USF had a better WCC conference record than St. Mary’s. Why is USF out of the NIT tourney above


    1. That’s a tough call actually. USF was one of my final cuts. I really think they should be in the NIT, but I ran out of space. I took St. Mary’s because I thought their work in non-conference was better and while USF’s WCC record was a little better, it didn’t outweigh it for me. But I could see NIT committee going either way.


  3. I see you have Iona as the highest seeded Auto Bid. Manhattan, with their size and depth, was a tough matchup for the Gaels who are small and only play six guys. As you know Iona had a rough stretch in December when they went 0-4 against St. Bonnie, Dayton, Nevada and Northern Iowa. If Iona had went 2-2 during that stretch do you think they’d have any outside shoot at an at-large or is that dreaming?


  4. How is Illinois not higher they’re in the big ten and they have beat Missouri,Iowa,Michigan st, Nebraska,Indiana, Minnesota, and lost to michigan by 1 point


    1. Mostly Illinois lost a bunch of games before they started winning them and their non-conference was less than stellar. I’m going to review all these seeds today before my final bracket this afternoon.


      1. I agree with the Illinois argument. Recently (in the past 2 or 3 weeks) they have beaten Nebraska, won @ MSU, won @ Iowa, won handily @ Minnesota, beat Indiana on a neutral B1G court and almost beat Michigan on a neutral court. Even though they had that bad stretch, they still beat Mizzou on a neutral site earlier in the year. Ever since they inserted 2 good freshman they have been hot and can win potentially win the NIT


      1. Re: Marquette and NC State. That’s a good question. I know Marquette has discussed playing the game at the on-campus arena. Don’t know what NC State will do. They could also play on Tuesday as I believe even for Thursday locations Wednesday is the first day the gym would be needed.


  5. So Louisiana Tech was the 1 seed in the c-USA tournament, blows out southern miss in the semifinals(who you have in the nit) but doesn’t make the not field? Explain


    1. There’s a simple explanation for this one: Louisiana Tech wasn’t eliminated from the C-USA tournament when this bracket went up on Saturday morning and thus were in the NCAAs. Their loss to Tulsa obviously moved them out and the Bulldogs will be a 2 seed I think when my final bracket comes out later this afternoon.


  6. Color me skeptical on the ‘Indiana not in’ wagon….and while you argue about Indiana v. Indiana St or Indiana v. Maryland, I think that the real argument is why you would have Richmond in the NIT. They did ‘enough in New York’? To my line of thinking, they beat a terrible Duquesne team and followed that up with an incredibly non-competitive performance against VCU. I would certainly think the fact that they are without their top scorer and have lost six of their last seven games would keep them out. I guess we’ll see if the NIT values RPI and all of its flaws over what I consider better metrics (Pom, BPI, etc).


  7. Joe Lunardi just said if Kentucky wins the SEC tourney, Arkansas may get the final spot in the big dance. They swept Kentucky, beat SMU, Clemson, Minn on Neut court. Had some tough losses but went 8 and 4 in last 12.


    1. Not to disagree with Lunardi, because he’s on ESPN and all, but I highly doubt the committee is waiting to see the SEC championship winner before deciding whether to put Arkansas into the NCAA bracket or not. Just doesn’t make sense considering the bracket is released in 3 hours. They need to be doing seeding, not putting teams into the tournament.


      1. They’re a 2 seed in my final bracket playing the team Lafayette just beat, Georgia State.


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