Sunday, March 5, 2023

March 5, 2:45 pm NIT Bracket Notes

There are a lot of changes in the new bracket after a busy Saturday. I wanted to explain some of the biggest.

Providence has dropped down from the NCAA Tournament to the NIT. Based on the reaction I'm getting on Twitter this is apparently a hot take, but I'm not sure why. While I could see the committee taking Providence over maybe Mississippi St. or Rutgers, it's extremely close right now and I would lean the other two teams based on their entire bodies of work. Other teams that I think are extremely close to the cut line are Pittsburgh, North Carolina St., Arizona St. and Wisconsin. A particular warning signal for all of these teams is their respective KPI ratings. The "resume" metric is basically designed to predict the committee and Providence has the worst of the group at 61 right now. (Arizona St. is second at 56 and Mississippi St. is 53.)

I moved Wisconsin into the NCAA Tournament. The Badgers have 11 Q1 and Q2 wins and have resume metrics that are closer to the top of the bubble than the bottom.

I still think that Utah St. (which is up to 21 in NET now) and Nevada (which took a tough loss to UNLV last night) make the NCAA Tournament, but that assumes that committee doesn't subconsciously try to screw over the Mountain West.

Moving a bit further down the bracket. Penn St. had already beaten Maryland before this bracket was constructed, but it was baked in as a projected result here at the end of the regular season. The Nittany Lions are close, but have some work to do. North Carolina dropped a seed line by losing to Duke. I doubt the committee makes them one of their First Four Out now.

Seton Hall was the other side of the Providence game yesterday and the metrics loved the blowout road victory. Shaheen Holloway's team now looks like a lock to play in the NIT. Colorado and Utah played essentially what was a play-in game at the Buffaloes came away with the victory. Utah did see some key players return, which could help in the Pac-12 tournament, but the Utes have a lot of work to do at this point. Also, I'm not entirely sold on Florida and Washington State (though the Cougars got a good seed with a similar resume last season). Wake Forest lost to Syracuse, which puts the Demon Deacons really close to falling out of the bracket entirely.

Loyola Marymount dropped from the bracket after losing to BYU in the WCC tournament and seeing its metrics plummet. I'm keeping an eye on BYU and San Francisco, just in case one pulls a big upset on Monday night. (San Francisco beat Santa Clara, which knocked the Broncos out of a home game, but I still think they're safely in.)

There are a lot of No. 1 seeds playing later today, so it's likely the bracket will need another refresh by the evening.

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