One of the most well known NIT bracketology sites around the internet is NIT-ology. They are also updating on a regular basis again and give me a good comparison to look at when they publish new brackets. We have some differences though. There are 10 teams about which we disagree about by at least three seed lines. Let's take a deeper dive into the resumes of those 10 teams.
Format is: Team (My bracket, NIT-ology):
UTEP (NCAA, 3) - The reason for the difference here is clear. NIT-ology has Memphis as the C-USA champion in today's championship game, but the Miners are actually the higher seed and thus included in the NCAA bracket in my version. A three seed for UTEP makes a lot of sense if they lose this afternoon.
Minnesota (Out, 4) - The Gophers are the team that we disagree the most about. I assume what is happening here is that NIT-ology is ignoring the fact that Minnesota has lost its last 6 games and 10 of its last 11 and looking at its overall resume. That doesn't make sense at all, because the rest of that resume happened when Al Nolen was healthy. He's not healthy and the Gophers are a mess.
Maryland (5, Out) and Northwestern (6, Out) - A point of contention between NIT-ology's bracket and mine appears to be power conference teams with a number of Top 100 losses. Maryland and Northwestern have a combined 26 losses (13 each) against Top 100 foes. They also have some good wins, including Illinois, Michigan, Florida State, at Penn State and Clemson. I value those wins pretty highly, especially when you get this low in the bracket. Also, neither of these teams have a bad loss. Their only loss to a team outside of the Top 100 is Maryland's loss to Virginia. Personally, I'd rather have the power conference teams that played someone and lost than others with lighter resume on both sides.
Iona (Out, 6) - The Gaels were one of the last teams I left out of my NIT bracket last night. While they have 22 wins, they have only two really goods ones (Richmond, at Long Island). They also have four losses against teams outside the Top 150 in RPI, including a neutral site loss to Bryant University (#254). With so many automatic bids being stolen it isn't a profile that holds up well in my mind.
Cleveland State (5, 2) - The debate about the Vikings is similar to that of the Gaels, but without the bad losses. Cleveland State beat everyone you'd expect them to beat this season and ended up with a 24-8 record. That's a darn good record, but there's not a lot of meat to it. Their best wins are Kent State, Iona, at Milwaukee and Valparaiso. Compared to the profiles of some of the power conference teams - who have more losses, but better wins - it doesn't seem like CSU should be that high. I think Cleveland State should be in the NIT, but I also think they'll end up playing on the road in the first round.
Wichita State (6, 3) - The Shockers are an even more extreme case than the Vikings. A win over Tulsa (which isn't in either field) and a sweep of Indiana State (which is only in the NCAA Tournament because they won the MVC auto-bid) are the only things WSU has going for it. The Shockers only have one bad loss, to Southern Illinois in conference, but again, where are the wins that get them seeded so high? Right now I have them distinctly on the NIT bubble.
VCU (1, 5) - You want wins? Here is a team with wins. The Rams have victories over UCLA, at Old Dominon, George Mason (neutral in CAA Tournament), at Wichita State and four more wins over good CAA teams. That's four better wins than WSU has, including a head-to-head victory. What's holding the Rams back and preventing them from getting an NCAA berth? Three pretty bad losses. The one at Georgia State (#225) is particularly perplexing. Personally I valued the good wins higher than the bad losses, maybe I have the Rams too high, but I think NIT-ology has them too low as well. We'll probably end up meeting somewhere in the middle.
Nebraska (3, 6) - The Cornhuskers have six good wins, but I probably have them a tad too high in my bracket. Still, they certainly don't deserve to be on the bubble. Recent performance is a bit of an issue, since Nebraska is 1-4 since beating Texas on February 19, but playing in the Big 12 offered the chance to get some impressive victories before then. Again, I might have the Cornhuskers too high, but I'd bet that they end up hosting a first round game.
New Mexico (2, 5) - A loss to BYU in the MWC semifinals ended New Mexico's shot at getting an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, but the Lobos had a legit shot until Jimmer Fredette just went off on them. New Mexico has two wins over BYU, a team looking at a #2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and two wins over Colorado State, who NIT-ology and I both have as a #2 seed in the NIT. If the Rams are a two seed then the Lobos should be as well. Even a victory over Colorado is useful in the seeding picture. The one blemish? A loss at Wyoming (#261). This is another team that deserves a home game after a strong effort in conference play.