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NIT Pickin’: State In As A 6-seed; VT, UNC In As Well

March 15, 2010
Sure, some may cynically refer to the NIT as “The Battle For 66th” but we all know–by virtue of automatic bids into the NCAAs–it’s really a battle for 35ish.

Don’t laugh.

It’s not exactly something a team strives for at the outset of a season, but not nearly the joke of an event some would make it out to be.

And given that most predicted the Pack to finish dead last in the league, the NIT’s not a bad consolation prize for falling short of making the NCAA Tournament. And with State concluding the regular season winning five of their last seven and two games in the ACC Tournament, making the NIT field adds to the relatively positive conclusion to the year.

Here’s a complete breakdown of the 32-team field, plus some of my thoughts at the end:

The Illinois Region:
1 Illinois | RPI: 75 | Pomeroy: 52 Prediction: W, 72-63, 66 possessions, 81%
8 Stony Brook | RPI: 156 | Pomeroy: 191
4 Kent State | RPI: 45 | Pomeroy: 83 Prediction: W, 69-66, 68 possessions, 63%
5 Tulsa | RPI: 70 | Pomeroy: 79
3 Dayton | RPI: 51 | Pomeroy: 45 Prediction: W, 68-59, 65 possessions, 83%
6 Illinois State | RPI: 77 | Pomeroy: 90
2 Cincinnati | RPI: 60 | Pomeroy: 69 Prediction: W, 74-66, 67 possessions, 79%
7 Weber State | RPI: 82 | Pomeroy: 109
Averages: | RPI: 77.0 | Pomeroy: 89.8
The Arizona State Region:
1 Arizona State | RPI: 65 | Pomeroy: 42 Prediction: W, 71-57, 63 possessions, 93%
8 Jacksonville | RPI: 153 | Pomeroy: 153
4 Seton Hall | RPI: 56 | Pomeroy: 62 Prediction: W, 84-77, 76 possessions, 74%
5 Texas Tech | RPI: 67 | Pomeroy: 80
3 Memphis | RPI: 58 | Pomeroy: 51 Prediction: W, 70-64, 64 possessions, 73%
6 St. John’s | RPI: 78 | Pomeroy: 65
2 Mississippi | RPI: 59 | Pomeroy: 54 Prediction: W, 82-66, 69 possessions, 93%
7 Troy | RPI: 113 | Pomeroy: 174
Averages: | RPI: 81.1 | Pomeroy: 85.1
The Virginia Tech Region:
1 Virginia Tech | RPI:57 | Pomeroy: 31 Prediction: W, 81-61, 71 possessions, 96%
8 Quinnipiac | RPI: 141 | Pomeroy: 194
4 UConn | RPI: 62 | Pomeroy: 55 Prediction: W, 64-58, 63 possessions, 76%
5 Northeastern | RPI: 72 | Pomeroy: 76
3 Wichita State | RPI: 47 | Pomeroy: 70 Prediction: W, 76-69, 67 possessions, 75%
6 Nevada | RPI: 73 | Pomeroy: 96
2 Rhode Island | RPI: 38 | Pomeroy: 73 Prediction: W, 72-63 66 possessions, 81%
7 Northwestern | RPI: 116 | Pomeroy: 77
Averages: | RPI: 75.8 | Pomeroy: 84.0

The Mississippi State Region:
1 Mississippi St. | RPI: 55 | Pomeroy: 41 Prediction: W, 72-63, 66 possessions, 81%
8 Jackson State | RPI: 201 | Pomeroy: 288
4 UNC | RPI: 89 | Pomeroy: 63 Prediction: W, 72-63, 65 possessions, 83%
5 William & Mary | RPI: 61 | Pomeroy: 113
3 South Florida | RPI: 68 | Pomeroy: 78 Prediction: W, 64-62, 63 possessions, 56%
6 NC State | RPI: 95 | Pomeroy: 59
2 UAB | RPI: 44 | Pomeroy: 67 Prediction: W, 65-55, 62 possessions, 87%
7 Coastal Carolina | RPI: 135 | Pomeroy: 147
Averages: | RPI: 93.5 | Pomeroy: 107.0

Thoughts:

  • State ended up in BY FAR the easiest region. There are two teams with RPIs over 100–one being Jackson State’s 201–and three with Pomeroy ratings above 100. Both of this region’s average RPI and Pomeroy ratings are nearly 20 points lower than the highest, the Virginia Tech region.
  • Speaking of Virginia Tech, they weren’t done any favors being one of the first teams left out of the NCAA Tournament. They landed in the statistically most-difficult region in the tournament. Their opening round game against Quinnipiac should be a breeze, but beyond them lie either UConn or Northeastern, two teams that could easily beat the Hokies on the road. If Seth Greenberg can’t get them ready to play after the dejection of missing out on the Big Dance, it could mean an early exit for one of the tournament’s #1 seeds (and a black eye for the ACC).
  • The Tar Heels were gifted a #4 seed but host a very strong team in William & Mary. The Tribe has beaten several good opponents already this year, including Maryland, and has an RPI 38 spots higher than the Heels. However, W&M has a Pomeroy rating 50 points lower than Carolina, so there’s a potential for good game in Chapel Hill.
  • State’s game against South Florida has been tabbed by Ken Pomeroy’s site as the FanMatch game of the night. Ken uses a formula to determine–based factors like tempo, style of play, strengths and weakness, etc.–to predict entertaining games. I think his formula is right on this one…I expect State to put up a great fight on the road.
  • Some quirky items: UConn and Northeastern face off in a battle the Huskies…Jacksonville’s RPI and Pomeroy rating are identical: 153…Both “Wolfpacks” (State’s Wolfpack and Nevada’s Wolf Pack) are six seeds, and could meet in the NIT Final Four.
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