Note: Completely new bracket coming on Sunday. But… I’ve made some tweaks from this bracket to the bracket that’s available on the permanent page.
Welcome to March and conference tournament fortnight! This newest NIT bracketology is the first one what could be at least two this week (and certainly a few next week).
There are going to be a lot of shakeups in the bracket this week because eventually some automatic bids are going to be introduced. Depending on how you look at it there are approximately 24 likely one-bid conferences in NCAA Division I this season. I went through the conference tournament projections on teamrankings.com and added up the probabilities for the No. 1 seeds and got that the expectation is that 10 of them would win their conference tournament.
Does that mean there are going to be 14 automatic bids handed out at the bottom of the bracket? Not really. For instance last season there were 12 automatic bids to the NIT, but that included two three seeds (Murray State and Louisiana Tech).
This season that could certainly end up being the case as well. Teams like Hofstra (CAA No. 1 seed), Monmouth (MAAC No. 1 seed), and Valparaiso (Horizon No. 1 seed) most likely would be seeded higher in the NIT (or make the NCAA tournament as an at-large). So that’s definitely something to watch out for.
The hard thing about doing a projected bracket is attempting to take those potential conference tournament upsets into account. Right now I’ve italicized the bottom 10 teams, because that seems to be about the right number historically.
One other thing worth noting: Temple is in the NCAA tournament as the AAC champion, but if the Owls don’t win the automatic bid they’ll be sweating it out on Selection Sunday.
Also, remember this is a look at what I think the NIT bracket will look like on Selection Sunday.
[Update (1 p.m. 3/1): I realized that I left out Houston. I have no idea how, but that shook up the bracket a lot. It has been fixed. The team dropped was Illinois St.]
Last 6 In NCAA (alphabetical): Florida, Michigan, Oregon St., St. Bonaventure, Tulsa, VCU
Projected under .500 and excluded: Arizona St., Georgetown, Mississippi St., N.C. State, Nebraska, Tennessee
8. Boise St.
4. Kansas St.
3. Florida St.
2. Georgia Tech
8. William & Mary
5. South Dakota St.
6. Northern Iowa
1. George Washington
8. Virginia Tech
6. UC Irvine
2. Ohio St.
Seriously considered: Illinois St., Oakland, UCSB, James Madison, Iona, Fresno St., Ohio, Northwestern, Long Beach St., Penn St., Rhode Island, Richmond