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NIT Bracketology: Mid-major conference battles will shape the bracket

For now, Saint Mary’s, Loyola Marymount, and San Francisco all project to receive bids.

NCAA Basketball: Loyola Marymount at UCLA Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The newest edition of NIT Bracketology is full of changes from our preseason version because actual games (like, a quarter of the season) have been played. The bottom of the NIT bracket is full of teams like Furman, San Francisco, and Stony Brook, who have all gotten off to hot starts.

A few of the notable teams from the last bracket that aren’t in this one include BYU, Georgetown, Grand Canyon, Marshall, Memphis, and Wichita St. All of those teams are still being considered, but don’t currently project to have strong enough resumes. A few teams also graduated to the NCAA Tournament, including Loyola University Chicago as the Missouri Valley’s automatic bid.

In terms of the NIT, the most interesting conference battles might be out west this season. The West Coast Conference has five teams that could legitimately challenge for an at-large berth in the NIT, assuming everyone is chasing Gonzaga. The Mountain West is in a similar situation, as three strong teams appear to be chasing Nevada.

Other leagues that look like they could produce multiple NIT teams include the American and the Atlantic 10.

As a reminder, this bracket is a projection of what the NIT bracket will look like on Selection Sunday, which includes educated guesses about future performance by every team (using analytics sites such as KenPom and T-Rank). These major conference teams are not in this bracket because they’re projected to be under .500 at the end of the season: Oklahoma St., Baylor, Boston College, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, South Carolina, Illinois, Georgia Tech, DePaul, Missouri, Stanford, Utah.

Last 8 NCAA At-Large Teams: UCF, Oklahoma, Seton Hall, Iowa, Houston, UCLA, LSU, Arizona

NIT Bracket (bubble teams in italics):

1. Xavier
8. Toledo

4. Connecticut
5. Minnesota

3. Northwestern
6. Fresno St.

2. Providence
7. San Diego St.

1. Alabama
8. Stony Brook

4. Colorado
5. Saint Mary’s

3. Penn St.
6. Dayton

2. Louisville
7. Davidson

1. Washington
8. Loyola Marymount

4. Mississippi
5. Furman

3. Utah St.
6. San Francisco

2. USC
7. VCU

1. Arkansas
8. Bradley

4. Notre Dame
5. Temple

3. TCU
6. Oregon St.

2. Maryland
7. Wofford

Next bracket: Early January 2019