Thursday, August 25, 2022

Way Too Early NIT Bracketology

The 2022-23 season is still months away, heck nearly half of Division I teams haven't even released their non-conference schedules yet. Still, it's fun to start thinking about what the upcoming season could look like.

One way to do that? Way too early predictions! I've spent a bunch of time thinking about the upcoming season for the Blue Ribbon preview (I wrote mostly about America East, but also Stony Brook, Monmouth, Marist and Rider). In order to create this bracket I looked at Joe Lunardi's NCAA predictions, Bart Torvik's 2023 projections, and a bunch of the Way Too Early conference projections on sites like Heat Check CBB. None of them completely agree with the other, so there is definitely some ambiguity.

A few teams in particular that I think could be worth watching this season: Providence (the people love them, the metrics don't), Ohio State, Florida State (a good team with a lot of injuries, or a program on the down slope?), and a number of programs with new coaches (Maryland, Seton Hall, etc.).

This bracket only gives seeds to the top four lines (i.e. the Rd. 1 home teams). In its release announcing that the 2023 NIT Final Four will be played in Las Vegas, the NCAA confirmed that they will once again use that seeding process. I will therefore be using it in my projections this season as well. (Though I'll still denote bubble teams with italics.) Think this bracket is insane? Hit me up on Twitter.

Last NCAA Teams: Alabama, USC, Saint Louis, Tulane, Mississippi, Wyoming, Stanford, Providence

U - Unseeded teams. Italics - Bubble Team

1. Arizona St.
4. LSU 
U. Florida Atlantic
3. Saint Mary's
U. Kansas St.
2. Utah St.
U. Washington

1. Ohio St.
4. St. John's
U. Florida St.
3. Clemson
U. Louisiana Tech
2. Seton Hall
U. Penn St.

1. Cincinnati
U. Boston College
4. Maryland
U. Temple
3. North Texas
U. Fresno St.
2. Missouri
U. Colorado

1. Loyola Chicago
U. Southern Illinois
4. Iowa St.
U. Wisconsin
3. Rutgers
U. Marquette
2. Washington St.
U. New Mexico

Friday, August 12, 2022

The NIT Is Going On The Road

The semifinals and finals of the NIT are heading to Las Vegas and Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis for the next two seasons, according to a release today from the NCAA.

The NCAA put the semifinals and finals, which have been traditionally played at Madison Square Garden, up for bid earlier this year. The winners of that process are Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, hosted by UNLV, and Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, hosted by Butler.

This seems great for the NIT. While Madison Square Garden is obviously a fantastic venue for college basketball due to its history and prominent location in the middle of New York City, this is a great way to spread the joy of the NIT to other parts of the country. (Though I'll personally miss being able to take the subway to semifinals and finals.)

The NIT tournament updated its logo and will be held in Las Vegas in 2023.
New (?) NIT logo courtesy NCAA

The NCAA's press release also includes some key information about the future format of the tournament. It appears that the 2023 version of the NIT will once again feature only 16 seeded teams with the other 16 teams unseeded and placed due to geographical constraints. This seemed to sort of work last season, though it created some confusion in later rounds. Knowing that's the case going in though should make it a little easier to predict the field.

The other fun news is that Rick Byrd, Bob McKillop and Gary Waters are joining the NIT committee. Byrd is obviously a legend due to his sweater vests (oh and his amazing run of coaching at Belmont), McKillop won more than 600 games at Kansas, and Waters actually coached in an NIT championship game at Rutgers. Those are three more distinguished members of the committee and also some mid-major legends who might push to have those types of teams included in the future. (Honestly, the NIT committee tilts towards coaches and administrators from smaller conferences.)

The season is coming up quickly. Selection Sunday is March 12, 2023. Vegas here we come on March 28 and 30, 2023!

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