Thursday, March 9, 2023

March 9, 8 AM NIT Bracket Notes

Yesterday's results created a lot of movement in the bracket. One particularly noteworthy move is the departure of Utah from the bracket. The Utes are 80th in NET this morning, but they rank 100th in Strength of Record. Utah also lost six straight and eight of 10 to finish the season. That sort of slide is tough to overcome in the selection room.

Nebraska has a number of a good wins, but the Cornhuskers took their worst loss of the season to Minnesota last night and are now projected to have a NET above 100, which would be an extreme outlier for how the committee has typically selected teams. The Cornhuskers also saw their KenPom rating fall to 95 after the loss to the Golden Gophers. Last year's committee relied heavily on predictive metrics, and if they do so again that would make it difficult for Nebraska to get a bid. The Cornhuskers still have seven Quad I and II victories against just one bad loss (the one against Minnesota), but taking that as your final statement to the committee is a tough look. Honestly though, there's not really a good choice to replace Nebraska within the bracket, which is why the Cornhuskers are still here, but much much closer to the cut line.

Another team that is impossible to figure out is Texas Tech. The Red Raiders haven't lost a game all season to a team outside of Quad I or II, but they're 5-16 against that competition and 16-16 overall. They also just fired their head coach. Right now TTU's resume is just too good to ignore, but I'm monitoring the situation.

Seton Hall lost to DePaul yesterday, but I still the Pirates are in line to play in the NIT and quite possibly receive a home game depending on how things shake out down the stretch.

Alcorn St. enters the bracket as the automatic bid from the SWAC. The Braves went 15-3 in SWAC play but lost in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament to Texas Southern.

Closer to the cut line for the NCAA Tournament, Wisconsin dropped out of the NCAA Tournament and into a No. 2 seed after losing to Ohio St. in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. That might seem harsh, but I think there are just a number of teams that a) have a chance to continue to improve their resume and b) have a better chance of being selected as the First Four Out by the committee than the 17-14 Badgers. Rutgers was moved back into the NCAA Tournament, which is why they're no longer in this bracket. But I could see that changing down the stretch given the unique resume the Scarlet Knights possess.

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