NOTE: The latest NIT Bracketology can always be found from the top link here. It is updated every Sunday.
Injuries are hitting teams hard this season. Whether it’s Kentucky losing Nerlens Noel for the season or Providence playing the early part of the season without Vincent Council (including the Penn State and Boston College losses) there are injuries popping up all over this week’s NIT bracket.
They’re certainly impacting seeding as well. My guess is that a team like Kentucky is going to slide even further if the loss at Tennessee is the signal of a larger trend. Teams hanging onto the bottom of the bracket, like Northwestern, are going to be hurt by the fact that they’re decimated by injuries as well. I dropped Rutgers off partly because the Scarlet Knights’ profile just doesn’t support hanging onto the bottom of the bracket, but also minus Eli Carter who knows what will happen.
All of this has caused quite a mess. Thanks to Patriot League debacle this past weekend Bucknell now trails Lehigh in the standings and thus the Bison appear in this NIT bracket. I’d still bet on Mike Muscala and company, but the Mountain Hawks have the head-to-head win and thus are the automatic bid until Monday night when they play again.
You’ll also notice that the USC Trojans have snuck into the bottom of the bracket. They’re 12-13 overall right now, so this is probably my most controversial pick. Still, since replacing Kevin O’Neill the Trojans have some big wins and a 7-6 record in Pac-12 play, which includes a win over UCLA. There are also no astoundingly bad losses on the resume. In case you’re wondering the last eight teams out of the NIT for me were: New Mexico St., Rutgers, Dayton, Murray St., Eastern Kentucky, Georgia, UTEP and Utah St. I’d also caution everyone and note that teams on the seven and eight seed lines are probably not going to make the bracket because of auto-bids for conference champions.
Enough preamble. Here is this week’s bracket:
1. Air Force
4. Saint Joseph’s
5. Texas A&M
3. Indiana St.
8. Northwestern St.
5. Southern Miss
2. Boise St.
7. Illinois St.
4. St. Mary’s
4. Northern Iowa
2. St. John’s
7. Florida St.