Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Post CFB Championship NIT Bracketology

The moments after the college football national title game are a great time to check in on college basketball. Casual fans are ready to transition back to watching college basketball instead of football during the week. Eamonn Brennan released his first Bubble Watch today for instance!

Full disclosure: I haven't read it yet. So the opinions below are completely my own. They're guided by KenPom and T-Rank standings for now. Also, it's hard for me to predict how the NET will shake out by the end of the season, so I think of it as a somewhat static metric at this point. That's not true of course, things will change as teams rise and fall during conference play, but if you're wondering why Butler has a protected seed in this bracket and Seton Hall doesn't it's because of their 10-spot difference in today's NET rankings. (I also have all the Mountain West bubble contenders in the NCAA Tournament. That's probably a stretch.)

KenPom projects UCF to finish 14-16 (5-13 Big 12), but the Golden Knights are in this bracket because I needed another Big 12 protected seed. If two of Texas, Kansas St. and TCU manage to make the NCAA Tournament (because those seem like the Big 12's bubble teams) then UCF will be called upon to represent the conference in the NIT.

There are a number of Pac-12 and SEC teams at the bottom of this bracket. I don't expect that to hold. During Championship Fortnight some of the mid-major conference leaders are going to fall and not be in position to get an NCAA at-large berth, but they're going to be well positioned to make the NIT. That means those power conference teams at the bottom might get pushed out altogether.

Seeds for road teams are technically implied, not actual. I moved teams around somewhat liberally to get a bracket that made sense. The final eight teams on my s-curve are in italics.

Last 4 NCAA At-Large Teams: Providence, Texas, Northwestern, Boise St.

NIT Bracket (protected in bold, bubble in italics):

1. South Carolina (SEC 1)
8. St. Bonaventure
4. UCF (Big 12 2)
5. Virginia Tech
3. Virginia
6. Georgia
2. SMU
7. Arizona St.

1. Wake Forest (ACC 1)
8. LSU
4. Washington (Pac-12 2)
5. San Francisco
3. Mississippi (SEC 2)
6. Seton Hall
2. N.C. State
7. USC

1. Oregon (Pac-12 1)
8. Arkansas
4. Butler (Big East 2)
5. Minnesota
3. Kansas St. (Big 12 1)
6. Indiana
2. Saint Mary's
7. Washington St.

1. Xavier (Big East 1)
8. Boston College
4. Iowa (Big Ten 2)
5. Drake
3. Pittsburgh (ACC 2)
6. Saint Joseph's
2. Nebraska (Big Ten 1)
7. Stanford

Seriously Considered: Richmond, Syracuse, Louisiana Tech, Massachusetts, North Texas, George Mason, Southern Illinois

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