Friday, February 9, 2024

Pre-Valentine's Day NIT Bracketology

If I'm being honest, I'm not in love with this bracket. There are too many ACC teams and things became messy down at the bottom. There are also two Ivy League teams, which if that actually happens I will be ecstatic but also floored.

I could've made bracketing a little easier by taking teams like James Madison (NET 63), St. Bonaventure (NET 67) or North Texas (NET 77), but none of the three are currently projected to have more wins over Quad I & II opponents than losses to Quad III & IV teams. The Mean Green are the closest at 3-3, according to T-Rank's projections.

Still, there will probably be a chance for things to shake themselves out as conference play continues. We have a number of excellent matchups this weekend. Tonight includes two excellent appetizers in San Diego St. at Nevada (project No. 1 seed here) and Dayton at VCU (projected unseeded team that's definitely on the NIT bubble). Then things get wild on Saturday with Washington St. at Oregon, Drake at Bradley, Providence at Butler, Virginia at Florida St., Maryland at Ohio St., Cornell at Yale, and a random Akron at James Madison game.

If I had to pick two extremely confusing teams right now it would be Charlotte and South Florida. The Bulls are appearing in some NCAA Tournament brackets right now as the projected "AAC Champion", but I think that's pretty silly. Power rankings suggest there's little chance that'll actually happen. But USF is definitely in consideration for an NIT bid. Both Charlotte and USF though are playing the "easier" version of the AAC schedule, which means fewer chances to get marquee wins. They'll need to secure some more big wins to move up in the NET.

Last 8 NCAA (in order): Butler, Gonzaga, Colorado, Washington St., St. John's, Northwestern, Boise St., Utah

NIT Bracket (automatic bids in bold, bubble teams in italics):

1. Nevada
U. Maryland
4. Oregon (Pac-12 1)
U. N.C. State
3. UCF (Big 12 1)
U. Georgia
2. Virginia Tech (ACC 1)
U. Richmond

1. Providence (Big East 2)
4. Pittsburgh (ACC 2)
U. Ohio St.
3. Iowa (Big Ten 2)
U. Drake
2. Villanova (Big East 1)
U. Syracuse

1. Nebraska (Big Ten 1)
U. Bradley
4. Kansas St. (Big 12 2)
U. Memphis
3. Washington (Pac-12 2)
U. San Francisco
2. Seton Hall
U. Cornell

1. Mississippi (SEC 2)
4. Miami FL (ACC 2)
U. Princeton
3. SMU
U. Minnesota
2. Texas A&M (SEC 1)
U. Florida St.

Also Considered: James Madison, North Texas, Boston College, St. Bonaventure, Massachusetts, Saint Joseph's, UNLV, Indiana, South Florida, Southern Illinois, Charlotte, Loyola Chicago

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