clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NIT Watch: Does Michigan Still Have a Shot?

With a loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals yesterday and a 16-16 record, Michigan must play the waiting game to see if they'll earn an invitation to the NIT. We examine those odds and what must happen to earn the invite.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, Michigan wasn't able to upset Wisconsin in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals, falling to a 16-16 record. In my post-game recap, I stated that Michigan's season probably was over because, heading into the game against Wisconsin, Michigan barely was clinging to the edge of the NIT cut-off at best and, with the loss, Michigan would be squeezed out of the field as regular-season champions from smaller leagues failed to win their conference tournaments and stole NIT auto-bids from NIT bubble teams. And I continued to think this when, after the loss to Wisconsin, three more NIT auto-bids were claimed because top seeds North Carolina Central, Louisiana Tech, and UC Davis lost in their respective conference tournaments.

However, when I woke up this morning, I discovered that there still is hope for Michigan to play in the NIT, at least according to two different sets of NIT projections. John Templon of NYC Buckets has Michigan as a No. 6 seed in his latest projection, and, because he has two at-large teams as No. 7 seeds, Michigan has at least a two-team buffer before they're pushed out of the field. KPI Sports also has Michigan as a No. 6 seed but as the second-to-last at-large team. So Michigan still is clinging to the edge of the cliff.

Therefore, if Michigan doesn't want to fall off, they need almost all of the remaining top seeds in the smaller conference tournaments, if not all of them, to win their tournaments. If more than two or three more spots are stolen by NIT auto-bids, Michigan should be out of luck. Further, Michigan would like any remaining NIT bubble teams to lose. Accordingly, here are the teams you want to win their tournament games today:

Michigan's NIT Rooting Interests (March 14, 2015)
Conference Team Michigan Wants to Win Opponent Time (ET) TV
America East #1 Albany #3 Stony Brook 11:00 a.m. ESPN2
Sun Belt #1 Georgia State #4 Louisiana-Lafayette 2:00 p.m. ESPN3
Ivy #1 Yale #2 Harvard 4:00 p.m. ESPN3
Atlantic 10 #2 Dayton #3 Rhode Island 4:00 p.m. CBSSN
AAC #2 Tulsa #6 UConn 5:00 p.m. ESPN2
MWC #2 San Diego State #4 Wyoming 6:00 p.m. CBS
MAC #1 Central Michigan #2 Buffalo 7:30 p.m. ESPN2
Big Sky #1 Montana #2 Eastern Washington 9:00 p.m. ESPNU
Southland #1 Stephen F. Austin #2 Sam Houston State 9:30 p.m. ESPN2
WAC #1 New Mexico State #3 Seattle 11:00 p.m. ESPNU

Of these games, there are four that may not affect Michigan's NIT odds regardless of their result. Those games are Dayton-Rhode Island, Tulsa-UConn, San Diego State-Wyoming, and Central Michigan-Buffalo because the lower-seeded team may remain ahead of Michigan as an at-large NIT team even with a loss. This applies more to Buffalo than Rhode Island, UConn, or Wyoming, but I included all four on the list just in case.

So that's the list. Michigan's odds of playing in the NIT still are slim. But there's a shot.

Thanks to Twitter friend, @DAngelo_Vickers, for helping put together this list.