While I’ll only be updating my bracket weekly, it’s that time of year again and worth tracking what teams are doing on a nightly basis. On night where there are lots of games (Wednesday and Thursday mostly), I’ll be looking at the teams that helped and hurt themselves for the NIT (and NCAA) bubble.
Since the bracket comes out on Sunday nights, I’d consider that as the status report for the weekend. If you missed the latest bracket, I posted it here.
Helping the Cause:
Charlotte 71, Butler 67 – It seems like the A-10 gives one of these games to a bubble team every night in league play. The 49ers took advantage to get a win at Hinkle. That’s a huge victory and one that will help Alan Major’s team teeter on the NCAA bubble, let alone the NIT bracket.
Northern Iowa 61, Creighton 54 - UNI got an awesome opportunity with Creighton in their own building and get a big win over the Blue Jays. The Panthers were a seven seed in last Sunday’s NIT bracket, but this win will certainly help. Creighton still looks like an NCAA team still (it’d take a lot for that to change), but Greg McDermott probably wants to get this losing streak over with.
Texas A&M 69, Ole Miss 67 - Two teams going in two different directions. A&M was a three seed in my latest NIT bracket and they’re really surging right now. The profile is a little wonky (the Aggies lost to Southern U. and Georgia twice), but this win will certainly help. On the other hand, the Rebels don’t have any bad losses, but their only really good win is over Missouri. The bubble is soft, but Ole Miss’ profile is like Charmin.
Ohio 82, Central Michigan 63 / Akron 70, Eastern Michigan 62 - These two games combined helped the MAC stay on track for one NCAA bid and one NIT bid. Akron right now would get an auto-bid for the NIT, but Ohio will certainly be deserving for an at-large selection if the Bobcats keep winning.
Saint Joseph’s 61, Richmond 55 - The easiest way to improve your standing on the bubble is to win. The Hawks took care of business against the Spiders. Of course Richmond is battle for NIT positioning too and certainly could’ve used this win on the road.
Illinois St. 79, Bradley 59 - This is a good win because it helps the Redbirds continue to separate from some of the other middling MVC teams. ISU is now 7-7 in the MVC and one of the conference’s hottest teams. They’ll need to keep winning in order to move up off the NIT bubble and safely into the field.
Air Force 71, UNLV 56 - When a team that is terrible on the road, but really good at home, comes to your gym you have to take care of business. Air Force did in a resounding way. The 15-point victory should help the Falcons, who were already sniffing around the NCAA bubble. They’re now 6-4 in the Mountain West (a game better than the Rebels by the way) and look to be making a promising run towards either the NCAAs or a top seed in the NIT.
Miami 74, Florida St. 68 - The Seminoles were sitting near the bottom of the latest bracketology. They had a golden opportunity to move up with a win over a highly rated Miami team and couldn’t get it done at home.
Rhode Island 75, Dayton 72 - This is an awful loss for the Flyers, a team that was way down the NIT bubble coming into tonight. Dan Hurley’s team is improving and dangerous at home, but you can’t lose to URI if you want to play in the postseason. At 3-7 in the A-10 Dayton certainly doesn’t have the look of a postseason team.
Utah 60, Arizona St. 55 - While ASU was a No. 1 seed in my NIT bracket on Sunday, the Sun Devils were one of the last teams out of the NCAA tournament. This is a bad loss to Utah, which is 178th in RPI. This is ASU’s second worst loss and could push them back down the NIT.
Texas 89, Iowa State 86 (2OT) - In the return of Myck Kabongo the Texas Longhorns got to play spoiler by hurting the Cylones’ at-large bid changes with a double-overtime home victory. The Longhorns needed a really nice set on their final possession of regulation to even for the extra frame, but once they got to the second Rick Barnes’ team pulled out the victory. Even with Kabongo, at 11-13, 3-8 in the Big 12, the Longhorns would have to do something awfully special to get into consideration for an NIT bid.