Sunday, March 12, 2023

Final Projected NIT Bracket

For posterity, this is my final projection of the NIT bracket:

1. Rutgers
U. YALE
4. Villanova
U. Cincinnati
3. Florida
U. SOUTHERN MISS
2. Wisconsin
U. TOLEDO

1. Oklahoma St.
U. BRADLEY
4. Sam Houston St.
U. Colorado
3. Virginia Tech
U. YOUNGSTOWN ST.
2. North Texas
U. Washington St.

1. Vanderbilt
U. UC IRVINE
4. UAB
U. Liberty
3. New Mexico
U. Nebraska
2. Oregon
U. EASTERN WASHINGTON

1. Clemson
U. ALCORN ST.
4. Santa Clara
U. UTAH VALLEY
3. Seton Hall
U. HOFSTRA
2. Michigan
U. MOREHEAD ST.

This bracket doesn't include two teams, North Carolina and Texas Tech, that declined to participate in postseason play beyond the NCAA Tournament. (We can talk about that decision for the Tar Heels, who would've been a No. 1 seed, in more detail another time.)

The last team into this bracket is Nebraska. The Cornhuskers are playing at New Mexico, a game I've given them a number of times in the past. It is completely plausible that the NIT selection committee will want to go with a different West Coast team in that slot. If that's the case then I could see San Jose St., San Francisco, or Loyola Marymount there. (Or UC Irvine bumped up and another southern team in the bracket.) Also, while I think Colorado and Washington St. should be safely into the field, there are some brackets out there that disagree. The most logical at-large candidates beyond the three mentioned above include Dayton, Marshall, and Wake Forest. I have a full run down of the NIT bubble on the site.

The weirdest game in this bracket is definitely UC Irvine, an automatic bid out of the Big West conference, heading to Vanderbilt. I just ran out of slots for West Coast games. Also, I might be too high on the Commodores generally. They have great resume metrics but bad power rankings and were not in the NCAA committee's First Four Out. (They've replaced UNC because I had Vanderbilt as an NCAA team originally.)

The NIT Selection Show is at 10 pm ET on ESPNU. Good luck to everyone involved and their fans.

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