Thursday, October 12, 2023

Way Too Early NIT Bracketology, Oct. 12 Edition

We're inching closer and closer to the season. (So close that I can start talking about Northwestern and the NIT on The Barking Crow.) This time of year is great because there are tons of preview magazines (including Blue Ribbon, for which I wrote about the Horizon League) and rankings available.

I used some of them, including T-Rank, KenPom's new H.U.M.A.N. poll and Evan Miya's brand new rankings to build my latest NIT bracket. I also peaked at Joe Lunardi's NCAA Tournament bracketology as well. There is definitely some consensus at the top of these polls, but when you get down to the bubble and especially into the range of the NIT, things just fall apart.

What I think we do know though is that a few leagues look to be in line to grab a number of NIT bids. For whatever reason it appears those leagues mostly fall out west this season with the disintegrating Pac-12 and the Mountain West leading the way. Much like the ACC did last season, both of these conferences seem primed to have a few elite teams and then a compact middle that will battle it out during conference play. If none of the teams in that middle class get particularly lucky, then they could all find themselves in the NIT.

Ultimately I went with my gut in building this bracket, but the large number of Mountain West and Pac-12 teams did pose some problems in bracketing, especially on the 3/6 lines. Another league to watch that could produce multiple NIT participants? The Atlantic 10. The league will be looking for a bounce back season overall and if some of the top teams perform as expected they could fall right into the NIT's lap.

NIT Bracket (italics is bubble)

1. Stanford
8. Nevada
4. Rutgers
5. Seton Hall
3. Virginia Tech
6. St. Bonaventure
2. LSU
7. Washington

1. Mississippi St.
8. UAB
4. VCU
5. West Virginia
3. Loyola Chicago
6. Wake Forest
2. Iowa St.

1. BYU
8. Duquesne
4. Boise St.
5. Washington St.
3. Cincinnati
6. Colorado St.
2. Iowa
7. Pittsburgh

1. Nebraska
8. Arizona St.
4. Oklahoma St.
5. Xavier
3. Utah
6. Colorado St.
2. Providence
7. N.C. State

Others Considered: Wichita St., Charlotte, Drexel, UNCW, California (who knows!), Georgia Tech, Boston College

T-Rank Doesn't Think They'll Be .500: Florida St., Syracuse, Michigan, Minnesota, UCF, Butler, DePaul, Georgetown

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