Conference play has brought a ton of changes to the NIT bracket. The biggest drops? Northwestern, which is now out, and Georgia, which is now a seven seed.
Both were top seeds just three weeks ago when my initial bracket came out, but both have really struggled since then. The Wildcats are 3-5 in the Big Ten and the schedule is just going to get harder. There are only three games left in the season where the Wildcats will definitely be favored. Unless they upset one of the B1G’s top teams Chris Collins’s team will lack a signature win that would guarantee them a spot in the NIT.
Similarly, Georgia is 4-3 in the SEC, but now faces a relatively difficult schedule down the stretch. That’s why the Bulldogs are so far down the bracket.
There are also some really intriguing non-power conference teams that could end up vying for a spot in the bracket, including UC Irvine, Princeton, William & Mary, and Evansville. Those teams don’t have an opportunity for a signature win, but their RPIs and other metrics could be quite strong by the end of the season.
Final at-large bids: South Carolina, Cincinnati, Gonzaga, Florida St., Seton Hall
Bubble teams due to potential automatic bids are in italics.
1. Texas Tech
4. Boise St.
5. Georgia Tech
3. Arizona St.
6. UC Irvine
4. Ohio St.
3. Kansas St.
7. St. Bonaventure
6. William & Mary
5. Rhode Island
2. Oregon St.
Considered: Northwestern, New Mexico, ETSU, Southern Illinois, Duquesne, Houston, Mercer, Louisiana Tech, Fresno St., Georgia St., Kent St., IPFW, Siena, Northern Illinois, North Dakota St., Nebraska, Marquette, UT Arlington, Middle Tennessee
Note: There are four teams that are potentially interesting that I didn’t put into the bracket because they’re projected to finish at .500 or below: Virginia Tech, N.C. State, Tennessee, and Alabama.