NIT Bubble Watch – March 6th, 2023 (2023)

Hi there!

There was basketball this weekend.

Let’s talk about it.

Helpful links:

  • NIT Bracketology: Our latest projection of the eventual field, from just a few hours ago.
  • NIT Bracketology Rundown: First Four Out, Next Four Out, and assorted complications.
  • NIT Bubble Watch: This page will help guide you to the most recent Bubble Watch, in case you’re viewing one from a previous day.
  • NIT Blog Posts: This will take you to every blog post talking NIT, a collection which includes our daily previews of the action at hand, usually published shortly after this.

Conference by conference:


  • Auto-Bid Contenders:
  • In the Mix (High): UNC, Pitt, NC State
  • Sweet Spot: Clemson
  • In the Mix (Low): Virginia Tech, Wake Forest

Pitt missed out on the NIT automatic bid, but they also avoided a good win they really didn’t need. Opinions differ on the Panthers, but everyone agrees they’re at least in the general bubble area. You’re close, friends. You’re close.

UNC did not beat Duke, which helps a whole lot. Still, there’s suspicion the NCA* *********t committee may be looking for any excuse to put the Tar Heels in the field, so we’ll be praying to avoid a kidnapping as our guys go to Greensboro.

Wake Forest took a loss at Syracuse that wasn’t terrible but does hurt. They’re in our Next Four Out.

Virginia Tech and Clemson each took care of business. Clemson is safer than Virginia Tech, but each is pointed in the right direction.

Big Ten

  • Auto-Bid Contenders:
  • In the Mix (High): Rutgers, Wisconsin, Penn State, Illinois, Iowa
  • Sweet Spot: Michigan
  • In the Mix (Low): Nebraska

We’ll put Iowa and Illinois back on here, but neither is particularly close. There are just disaster scenarios on which we’re praying. The real news? Rutgers is suddenly in the middle of the thing, sitting in our Bid Thief Seat after a bad loss to Northwestern, and Nebraska is back alive after winning in Iowa City.

Michigan dodged a bullet in Bloomington, Wisconsin took one (in our opinion) in the Barn. You hate to see both those things. Our negotiators push onwards.

Big 12

  • Auto-Bid Contenders:
  • In the Mix (High): Oklahoma State, West Virginia
  • Sweet Spot: Texas Tech
  • In the Mix (Low): Oklahoma

Texas Tech’s in the Sweet Spot, but Mark Adams’s suspension makes things uncertain. We’ll keep an eye on it, but one possibility is that the school could just decide to play if invited, and another is that the team could publicly ask to not be invited, which we think we remember happening with Georgia in 2018 after Mark Fox got fired.

Iowa State played its way off the bubble in Waco, so Godspeed to the Cyclones. We think West Virginia did the same, but others disagree, and similarly, opinions on Oklahoma State differ, possibly because injuries are such a subjective thing and Avery Anderson is for the moment an injured man (though Oklahoma State is going to put out all the clips of him practicing as they try to sway the committees whether the man is healthy or not). Our opinion is that they’ll miss the NIT if they beat Oklahoma, but we’ll see.

Speaking of Oklahoma: They need to win two games in the Big 12 Tournament to get to .500. That would mean beating Oklahoma State and Texas.

(Video) 2023 NCAA Tournament Bracketology: BUBBLE TEAMS TO WATCH | CBS Sports


  • Auto-Bid Contenders:
  • In the Mix (High): Mississippi State, Auburn, Arkansas
  • Sweet Spot: Florida, Vanderbilt
  • In the Mix (Low):

Auburn is gone from us, vanquished by their own victory over Tennessee. Is there a chance? Maybe. We don’t really think so, but maybe. Same goes for Arkansas. Those are really pushing it on believability.

Thankfully, Mississippi State is all about belief, coming through clutch with their loss to Vanderbilt, who’s suddenly dreaming of…missing the NIT? Cut that out, Vanderbilt. You’re ours again. We refuse to release you from this divine contract.

Florida took care of business against LSU and will now finish at least at .500, which should be enough. Would be a surprise to not see Todd Golden’s squad in the best-sized dance.

Big East

  • Auto-Bid Contenders:
  • In the Mix (High): Providence
  • Sweet Spot: Seton Hall
  • In the Mix (Low): Villanova, St. John’s

Providence, as you have likely heard by now, was blown out by Seton Hall on Saturday. The Friars are suddenly moving in an NIT direction, and they’re moving this way fast. Consensus disagrees with us, but consensus is also moving our way. Make of that what you will.

Seton Hall, meanwhile, has pushed up into what passes for NIT safety. The Pirates needed that, and as Pirates are said to do, they went and took it.

Villanova lost to UConn, which was good and bad for their NIT situation. On the good side, there’s hardly any way they make the NCA* ********** now. On the bad side, they’re suddenly down around our bottom bubble again. The gate is narrow.

St. John’s gave Marquette a tough game, and that isn’t meaningless. Marquette has the best coach in the game. St. John’s is a long way out of our projected field, but who knows.


  • Auto-Bid Contenders:
  • In the Mix (High): Arizona State, USC
  • Sweet Spot: Oregon, Washington State
  • In the Mix (Low): Colorado, Utah, Washington

Hats off to Oregon, who turned in the ideal NIT performance for a team looking to secure a bid. They won, yes, but it was a close win over a bad team and the game was in Eugene. Nothing to provoke questions in either direction.

Colorado beat Utah as injury news swirled to a level that has become impossible to keep track of. At the moment, the Buffs are in our projected field and the Utes are out.

Lastly, Arizona State gave USC a run for its money, but USC ended up holding the win. Huge dodge by ASU. Eat it, Andy Enfield.

Mountain West

  • Auto-Bid Contenders:
  • In the Mix (High): Nevada, Utah State, Boise State
  • Sweet Spot: New Mexico
  • In the Mix (Low): UNLV, San Jose State

UNLV’s upset of Nevada makes things a lot closer for both those two. Utah State’s handling of Boise State might be the death knell for the Aggies, but their team sheet’s weird enough that they’re still alive. Boise State probably isn’t headed our way, but they could take a real bad closing loss, and the heart wants what it wants.

The American

  • Auto-Bid Contenders:
  • In the Mix (High): Memphis
  • Sweet Spot:
  • In the Mix (Low): Cincinnati, UCF, Tulane

Tulane held on against Temple, UCF and Cincy each blew someone out, Memphis almost beat Houston, and we remain in a similar position to where we’ve been: Cincy and UCF are very close. Memphis and Tulane are not very close.

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Conference USA

  • Auto-Bid Contenders: Florida Atlantic
  • In the Mix (High): North Texas
  • Sweet Spot: UAB
  • In the Mix (Low):

North Texas held Western Kentucky to 33 points on Saturday, reinvigorating their fringe case to miss the NIT on the high side without beating FAU. It’s unlikely, but we’ll track it. UAB fought off Charlotte in two overtimes to stay in the Sweet Spot. FAU just missed a loss at Louisiana Tech that would’ve gone a long way. An automatic bid is still possible for them, but it’s not looking good in the land of the Owls.

West Coast Conference

  • Auto-Bid Contenders:
  • In the Mix (High):
  • Sweet Spot:
  • In the Mix (Low): Santa Clara, Loyola Marymount, BYU

BYU is through to the semis, hanging on to an NIT chance by a thread. They need to give Saint Mary’s hell tonight.

Santa Clara and Loyola Marymount both lost, and that leaves Santa Clara squarely on our bubble and LMU looking like its only option is the committee getting weird and prioritizing only the things that LMU has done well while ignoring overall body of work.

It could happen!

Atlantic 10

  • Auto-Bid Contenders: VCU
  • In the Mix (High):
  • Sweet Spot:
  • In the Mix (Low): Dayton, Saint Louis, Fordham

Duquesne’s loss to Fordham, and by so many points, pulls the Dukes off our radar. There probably isn’t enough time left. Fordham’s weird wildcard case (sparknotes: Fordham hopes the committee cares more about accomplishments than how good you are) remains alive.


  • Auto-Bid Contenders: Utah Valley
  • In the Mix (High): Sam Houston State
  • Sweet Spot:
  • In the Mix (Low): Sam Houston State

We got confirmation here: Utah Valley is the regular season champion even though Sam Houston State is the top seed in the WAC Tournament. Different criteria for those two things, and the NCAA will let them do it as it applies here.

This leaves Sam Houston State in the awkward position of needing to do well enough to stay above the NIT cut line but poorly enough to lose and not get conscripted.

Exciting week ahead.

Sun Belt

  • Automatic Bid: Southern Miss
  • In the Mix (High):
  • Sweet Spot:
  • In the Mix (Low): Marshall, Louisiana

Southern Miss is in. Marshall and Louisiana are probably out. Just too far away to realistically catch a break. James Madison is also out. Loss did them in.

Missouri Valley

  • Automatic Bid: Bradley

Nice to have another Illinoisan around.


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  • Auto-Bid Contenders: Toledo
  • In the Mix (High):
  • Sweet Spot:
  • In the Mix (Low): Kent State


  • Auto-Bid Contenders: Hofstra
  • In the Mix (High): College of Charleston
  • Sweet Spot:
  • In the Mix (Low): College of Charleston

We would recommend Charleston win tonight in the CAA semis and lose tomorrow, but if they don’t want the pressure of having to lose tomorrow’s game and want to take their chance, we get it. We think they’d still be in with a loss to Towson (deservedly well-respected bunch over there), but we aren’t positive. Same situation as Sam Houston State’s.


  • Auto-Bid Contenders:
  • In the Mix (High):
  • Sweet Spot: Liberty (Lock)
  • In the Mix (Low):

We think Liberty’s a lock, but we are extremely capable of being wrong, so don’t buy tickets to wherever you would buy tickets if this would lead you to do that. Also: Au revoir, Kennesaw State.


  • Auto-Bid Contenders: Iona
  • In the Mix (High):
  • Sweet Spot:
  • In the Mix (Low):

I’m not sure why we kept talking about waiting on a MAACket. Iona’s at the top, the other teams are all pretty bad. That’s the deal. We have known that for weeks.

Summit League

  • Auto-Bid Contenders: Oral Roberts
  • In the Mix (High):
  • Sweet Spot:
  • In the Mix (Low):

Oral Roberts is through to the semifinals. They play St. Thomas tonight, and the word is that if St. Thomas wins the Summit League Tournament, that also puts Oral Roberts out of the NIT. St. Thomas is a Division I transitioner.

Ivy League

  • Auto-Bid Contenders: Yale
  • In the Mix (High):
  • Sweet Spot:
  • In the Mix (Low):

Yale won the Ivy League. Congratulations. Ivy Madness (that’s what they call it) awaits.

Big West

  • Auto-Bid Contenders: UC-Irvine
  • In the Mix (High):
  • Sweet Spot:
  • In the Mix (Low):

UC Irvine won the Big West. Congratulations. Big West Madness (I don’t think they call it that) awaits.

Big Sky

  • Automatic Bid: Eastern Washington

The Eagles! With some great, great names. Also! Props to Northern Arizona. First time we’ve seen Lumberjacks actually put Eagles into their natural habitat. Usually cutting it down, you know? To drive our world forward and whatnot.


  • Auto-Bid Contenders: Furman
  • In the Mix (High):
  • Sweet Spot:
  • In the Mix (Low):

Furman’s in the SoCon Championship tonight against Jake Stephens, also known as Jake Stephens and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. I haven’t checked the line, but I’d guess it’s got Furman narrowly favored. The Paladins nearly went down against Western Carolina, blowing a big lead in the second half and needing overtime to win it, but they couldn’t pull it off.

Horizon League

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  • Auto-Bid Contenders: Youngstown State
  • In the Mix (High):
  • Sweet Spot:
  • In the Mix (Low):

Big South

  • It’s over.

Congratulations to UNC Asheville.

If that’s the word you want to use.

America East

  • Auto-Bid Contenders: Vermont
  • In the Mix (High):
  • Sweet Spot:
  • In the Mix (Low):

Vermont took care of business in the first round. Semifinals await.

Patriot League

  • Auto-Bid Contenders: Colgate
  • In the Mix (High):
  • Sweet Spot:
  • In the Mix (Low):

Colgate is through to the Patriot League championship, and I just realized I put them in the wrong place on our NIT Bracketology Rundown, but they shouldn’t just been over to the right of Furman. Nothing big.


  • Auto-Bid Contenders: Howard
  • In the Mix (High):
  • Sweet Spot:
  • In the Mix (Low):

Ohio Valley

  • Automatic Bid: Morehead State


  • Auto-Bid Contenders: Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
  • In the Mix (High):
  • Sweet Spot:
  • In the Mix (Low):

The Southland Tournament is underway, but we have nothing to see yet.


  • Auto-Bid Contenders: Alcorn State
  • In the Mix (High):
  • Sweet Spot:
  • In the Mix (Low):

Alcorn State won the SWAC. Congratulations, and best of luck as you seek a return NIT trip. There is a dynasty in the making in Lorman.


  • It’s over.


And off we go, into the NITe.


Where will the NIT be played in 2023? ›

The 2023 National Invitation Tournament marked a new beginning for the event. The NIT, after a nation-wide bid process, selected Las Vegas to host the 2023 season's NIT semifinals and championship.

Do you have to be over 500 to make the NIT? ›

Teams are no longer required to have . 500 or greater overall records to receive bids. Similar to the automatic bids the NCAA Tournament grants for all conference tournament champions, all teams that won regular-season conference championships but failed to earn NCAA tournament bids are guaranteed places in the NIT.

What Big Ten teams are in the NIT tournament? ›

Michigan, Rutgers and Wisconsin will compete in the National Invitational Tournament. This marks the first time Big Ten teams have appeared in the NIT since 2019, when Indiana and Nebraska competed.

Is Rutgers in the NIT tournament? ›

Rutgers has played its last game for the 2022-23 season — and it ended in a fitting way. Just two days after the committee made the decision to leave Rutgers out of the NCAA Tournament, the Scarlet Knights suffered an 88-86 loss to Hofstra in the first round of the NIT at Jersey Mike's Arena. How did it happen?


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