Sunday, March 17, 2024

Quick Reactions to the NIT Bracket


Five quick thoughts:

1. Oklahoma opting out after missing the NCAA Tournament gave UCF a home game again. It's probably for the best. It also opened up a spot that was given to either North Texas, Xavier or Cornell.

2. Washington opting out created a conspicuous absence in the NIT bracket: A second Pac-12 team. The league only used one their automatic NIT bids. My guess is that what happened is that after Washington declined none of the other teams were ready to play again after finishing under .500. USC closed strong, but even they were probably finished. It's a pretty bad look though for the NCAA that in the first year of the automatic bids a league failed to use theirs. Though I guess that league will cease to exist soon.

3. The biggest shock to me in the bracket reveal was Xavier getting an at-large bid at 16-17 overall. My guess is that the NIT knew the Musketeers wanted to play in the NIT, because they had to have been talking to them in case they were needed in a scenario where too many Big East teams opted out. When Oklahoma opted out that created an opportunity, which Xavier seemed willing to fill. Good for them.

4. The second biggest shock as Bradley getting a three seed and a home game. Every other home game went to a team I had as a 5-seed or higher in my s-curve.  Bradley's NET is 57, which probably carried the day, but it was still a bit surprising. It seemed like the committee trusted the NET even with mid-majors this season (see Princeton's 2 seed), which is unusual.

5. I would really like to know what happened to Syracuse. The Orange had a better NET than some of the teams in the field, so it seems to me that it's likely they opted out, but 'Cuse is a team that's fanatically covered and there hasn't been any reporting to that point. Syracuse's Strength of Record was amongst the best in the NIT field. If North Texas or Cornell got a bid over them... That's questionable. Update (3/18): Syracuse opted out of the NIT. Their statement said: "We respect the NIT but our only post-season goal was to play in the NCAA tournament. Therefore, we communicated to the ACC we would not participate in the NIT."

I'll have more to say, especially about St. John's, but for now let's enjoy the games.

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