We’re a few games into conference season, but things are no more clear in NIT Bracketology land. There are still too many teams on a too crowded bubble.
Some of the sorting will happen sooner rather than later. (And I’ll have another bracket in two weeks that will hopefully sort some of it out too.) Everyone on the top line could be an NCAA tournament team. The bottom of the bracket is also rather strong. There are a bunch of power conference teams trying to hang on — and eventually move up in the bracket. I’ve excluded any team projected to finish under .500 overall, but all the teams in this bracket look to be on course.
The two toughest teams to figure out, besides the top seed line and whether they should be in here or in the NCAA tournament, were Connecticut and Florida. Both teams have big names and have been competitive against big time opponents this season. Florida is 36th in KenPom, but Connecticut is down at 59th. (Not that those rankings mean anything for this bracket, but rather demonstrate that they’re still quality teams.) The Gators are dropping out of a lot of brackets lately, and I could see that happening now too.
There are also no automatic bids in this bracket, which means the seven and eight seed lines are technically on the NIT bubble. Those lines include some teams with rich history such as Pittsburgh and UCLA. (Michigan just missed as a six seed.)
Final 15 NCAA At-Large Teams: Dayton, San Diego St., Colorado St., Illinois, St. John’s, Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma St., Ohio St., Michigan St., Stanford, North Carolina St., Iowa, Kansas St., Xavier, Cincinnati
Other Non-Obvious At-Large In NCAA: SMU, Davidson, Miami (FL), Butler, Providence, Arkansas, Northern Iowa, Indiana
NIT Bracket (January 26, 2015):
8. New Mexico
4. South Carolina
5. Rhode Island
3. Texas A&M
1. Seton Hall
4. Old Dominion
3. Oregon St.
8. Arizona St.
5. Boise St.
7. Saint Mary’s
1. George Washington
Also seriously considered: Marquette, Vanderbilt, Penn St., Colorado, Middle Tennessee, Western Michigan, Belmont, Tulane, DePaul, Northeastern, Harvard, Toledo, Loyola (IL), BYU, Nebraska, Pepperdine, North Dakota St., Akron, St. Bonaventure, Bowling Green, Illinois St., UTEP, Louisiana Tech, Buffalo, Central Michigan
More teams to consider: Utah St., UC Irvine, UC Davis, UNC Wilmington, Hofstra, Georgia St., Monmouth, Rider, Coastal Carolina, Chattanooga, Mercer, Sacramento St., Sam Houston St., Florida Gulf Coast, Stony Brook, Norfolk St.