NIT Bracketology - A human takes a shot

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Updated 8:50 p.m. CT on Sunday, March 6 after Florida Atlantic stole another automatic bid after losing in Sun Belt quarterfinals, which pushes UCF out.

Since I'm tweaking the Bracket Predictor over the weekend and it isn't quite ready for prime time again I decided to sit down and do an NIT Bracket by hand. The bracket is becoming clearer, well sort of. It seems like there are only about 19 teams that can reasonable consider themselves on the NCAA Tournament bubble which I believe now has 11 open slots. There have also been five automatic bids handed out to the NIT, but one of those teams - Missouri State - would've made it anyways. Of course the team that stole their bid, Indiana State, wouldn't have. So it still impacted the bracket.

Assumptions made in this bracket: 

  • Harvard is the Ivy League champ
  • Milwaukee is the Horizon League champ
  • Old Dominion is the CAA champ
  • Iona is the MAAC champ
  • UAB is the C-USA champ
NIT Bracket:
1. Penn State
8. Murray State
4. Oklahoma State
5. Southern Miss
3. Princeton
6. Wichita State
2. Washington State
7. Northwestern
1. VCU
8. Fairfield
4. Nebraska
5. Cleveland State
3. Tulsa
6. Mississippi State
2. USC
7. Vermont
1. Clemson
8. Coastal Carolina
4. Baylor
5. Miami (FL)
3. Missouri State
6. Mississippi
2. Colorado State
7. Valparaiso
1. Richmond
8. Florida Atlantic
4. Marshall
5. New Mexico
3. UTEP
6. Drexel
2. Alabama
7. Minnesota
Notes:
  • Look at that potential second round game between Princeton and their former coach Bill Carmody. That's tricky. Isn't it? The only way we could make it more juicy? By switching Washington State and USC so that the Wildcats could also play former coach Kevin O'Neill. 
  • UCF is the last team into the NIT right now. (They were bumped out when Florida Atlantic lost late tonight.) Making some noise in the C-USA Tournament would certainly help a number of team's profiles, but the biggest difference will be for the Knights.
  • Speaking of big postseason games, Minnesota vs. Northwestern in the Big Ten's Tournament's first round might be an NIT play-in game if auto-bids keep piling up.
  • After about the top 2.5 seed lines this bracket is an absolute mess. Considering only three of the non-auto bids have had their season end thus far (Missouri State, Cleveland State, Valparaiso), I expect a lot of movement over the next week or so. Thus, expect another bracket on Wednesday, one of Friday and then one finally on Selection Sunday.

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