NIT Bracketology: Yep, It's A Thing

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

We know Marquette isn't going to the NCAA tournament. So where do they stand as far as the 32 team NIT field goes?

This is where things get a little dicey. The NIT extends automatic bids to any regular season conference champion that doesn't win their conference tournament. As of right now, there are 11 conference champs that are missing the NCAA tournament both by not winning their tournament and not having a strong enough at large profile. This number has a chance to explode today, as there are six #1 seeds that wouldn't earn an at large NCAA spot still alive in their tournaments.

There are two sites that are putting together NIT bracketology on a regular basis. First up, Bracket Matrix. You might already be familiar with them for their work compiling bracket projections from all across the interwebs to get a clearer picture of how the NCAA tournament is coming together. In their most recent NIT projection posted before taking yesterday's games into account, they have Marquette as a 4 seed. That would have MU hosting a first round game, in this case against #5 seed Maryland.

Next up is NYC Buckets. They've gone one step further, and drawn a line in their projection to show where the at large spots stop and the smaller conference automatic bids start. NYC Buckets has updated this morning, and they have the Golden Eagles as a 3 seed, hosting #6 seed Saint Mary's. They also draw the cut line right in front of #6 seeded Davidson, making the remaining three six seeds and #5 seed Maryland as the last four teams in. If all six #1 seeds lose in their tournaments, that would slide the line all the way up to leaving just one #5 seed available to at large teams.

It seems likely that Marquette will be hosting an NIT game, especially if the regular season champs fall over the next two days. That would block out nearly the entire bottom half of the bracket to small conference regular season champions. Still, nothing is guaranteed, as the NCAA doesn't really have any bracketing rules that they have to adhere to when it comes to the NIT field. We'll just have to wait until Sunday night...

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