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The 2011 NIT Tournament bracket was just announced on ESPNU. The NIT, a tournament independent of the NCAA Tournament, provides a postseason for teams that aren’t able to reach the field of 64. It’s a field of 32, so think of it as an even more exclusive club, snubbed sports fans.
Three of the four No. 1 seeds are held by ACC or SEC teams, with Alabama, Virginia Tech, and Boston College taking the top spots. Miami also earned a No. 2, and Ole Miss a No. 5. Georgia Tech fans, here’s your rooting interest: Bobby Cremins’ College of Charleston is in as a No. 6 seed, taking on the defending champs.
Coming in to today, Georgia was thought to be slummin’ it in the NIT. Bama fans have got to be upset to see UGA in as a snug No. 10 seed.
No. 4 New Mexico Lobos vs. No. 5 UTEP Miners on Tuesday at 9 pm
No. 3 Missouri State Bears vs. No. 6 Murray State Racers on Tuesday at 8 pm
No. 1 Colorado Buffaloes vs. No. 2 Texas Southern Wednesday at 7 pm
No. 2 St. Mary’s Gaels vs. No. 7 Kent St. Golden Flashes on Tuesday at 11 pm
No. 4 Northwestern Wildcats vs. No. 5 Milwaukee Panthers on Wednesday at 8 pm
The 2011 NIT tournament selection show is scheduled to air on ESPNU at 9 pm ET. 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket snubs like the Virginia Tech Hokies, Alabama Crimson Tide, and Boston College Eagles will watch with some sort of interest, though a heavy disappointment.
Bama failed to make it in despite twice beating the Georgia Bulldogs, who found themselves a comfortable No. 10 seed. Alabama was hurt by beating, well, nobody besides UGA, other than a bunch of SEC West teams.
Virginia Tech had to watch the Clemson Tigers make the cut, a team to whom the Hokies lost just a couple weeks ago after beating then-No. 1 Duke. VT had a chance to force the selection committee’s hand, but fell to Duke in the ACC Tournament. This seems to happen every year for Virginia Tech.
Boston College was in the running for a March Madness bid, and a four-game winning streak down the stretch meant a strong tourney performance could’ve made the difference, but they fell to Clemson. Lot of people mad at Clemson right now.
Other ACC or SEC teams up for the NIT include Miami, Maryland, and Ole Miss.
The George Mason Patriots, regular season champions of the Colonial Athletic Association, was awarded a No. 8 seed in the East Region and will face No. 9 seed Villanova of the Big East in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournamentin Cleveland, Ohio. Most fans remember Mason is only five years removed from a Final Four run and are led by Senior Guard Cam Long who will be playing in 131st collegiate game. Coach Jim Larranga has a career record of 4-4 in the NCAA Tournament.
The Old Dominion Monarchs, the Colonial Athletic Association tournament champion and recipient of the conference’s automatic bud, earned a No. 8 seed in the Southeast Region and will face No. 9 seed Butler in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament in nearby Washington, D.C. ODU relies heavily on their incredible team size for a mid-major with 5 players at 6’8 or taller led by Frank Hassell who averages 15 points and 9.6 rebounds per game while shooting 56% from the field. Expect a tremendous pro-ODU crowd as the Richmond campus in only a short drive to
The Virginia Commonwealth Rams snuck into the NCAA Tournament by the slimmest of margins and will face Southern Cal in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament in the First Four Tuesday in Dayton, Ohio. The Rams are most famous for their first round upset of No. 2 seed Duke in 2008. VCU is led by Senior Wing Jamie Skeen who averages 15 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. The Rams are also led to the NCAA Tournament by its third different coach in 8 years in former Florida Assistant Shaka Smart.
Belmont, the runaway regular season and tournament champion of the Atlantic Sun, snatched the No. 13 seed in the Southeast Region and will take on No. 4 seed Wisconsin in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament in Tuscon, Arizona. While the Bruins have never won a tournament game but many Duke remember reaching for the Pepto after the 71-70 Blue Devil escape in 2008. Belmont has incredible depth with more than 11 players averaging 10 or more minutes this season. Expect this matchup to be a consensus Bracketbuster pick among the talking heads and analysts as Wisconsin has been a first round upset victim in recent years.
Wofford, the Southern Conference tournament champion, grabbed a No. 14 seed in the Southeast Region and will face the No. 3 seed BYU in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament in Denver, Colorado. The Terriers are near the top of all mid-major schools scoring nearly 74 points per game which will give them a punchers chance vs. the Fightin’ Jimmer Fredettes. Brandon Dahlman, the 6’6 Senior forward from Braham, Minnesota, needs only nine points to eclipse the 2,000 point barrier and has been absolutely electric. In fact, the last time Dahlman was held under double digit scoring was 1/26/09, a span of 60 straight games.
Kentucky fresh off its SEC Tournament championship earns a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament. They will be taking on No. 13 seeded Princeton in the first round of the East regional. Kentucky would appear to be on a potential collision course with No. 1 overall seed Ohio State.
Kentucky's opponent in the SEC Tournament championship game the Florida Gators earn a No. 2 seed in the Southeast region. The Gators will take on the No. 15 seeded UC Santa Barbara Gauchos. The Gauchos finished fourth in the Big West during the regular season before winning the conference tournament and the automatic bid.
Vanderbilt crashes the party as a No. 5 seed in the Southwest region. They will take on Atlantic 10 Tournament Champion Richmond Spiders. The Spiders come into the tournament hot having won their last seven games in a row.
Tennessee makes the tournament field as a No. 9 seed and will be taking on Michigan in the first round as part of the West region. Tennessee enjoyed an up and down season while Michigan was a surprise finishing at 20-13 before losing to overall No. 1 seed Ohio State in the Big 10 tournament.
Georgia is the fifth SEC team to make the tournament field doing so as a No. 10 seed in the East region. They will take on Pac-10 tournament champ Washington on Friday. Curiously Alabama who won the SEC's regular season western division and beat Georgia twice in the last week of the season isn't a part of the tournament field. Alabama defeated the Bulldogs 65-59 in overtime in the second round of the SEC Tournament. The Crimson Tide then lost 72-58 to eventual Tournament champ Kentucky in the semifinals.
Need a printable NCAA bracket to fill out for the tournament? Download SB Nation's 2011 March Madness Bracket.
Mark Fox and his Georgia Bulldogs are going to the NCAA Tournament after being named as the East Region's No. 10 seed. The Bulldogs will be opposed by the No. 7 seeded Washington Huskies. The Bulldogs and Huskies will play Friday in Charlotte
The Bulldogs spent the last two days worrying about whether or not they had done enough to get themselves into the tournament. Some projections had the Bulldogs as one of the last four teams in while a few had them out completely. Georgia lost to fellow bubble team Alabama twice in the last week, the worst of which came in the second round of the SEC Tournament.
Mark Fox is in just his second season as Bulldogs head coach and now has his team in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008. The strength of the Bulldogs' resume was that there weren't any bad losses on it. Georgia lost in double overtime earlier this season to Notre Dame and Florida while finishing 9-7 in the SEC on the season.
Washington finished third in the Pac-10 regular season standings finishing 23-10 overall. The Huskies then won the Pac-10 Tournament title on a last second shot from Isaiah Thomas defeating Arizona by a score of 77-75. The Huskies knocked off Washington State, Oregon, before beating Arizona in the finals.
With the NIT selection show scheduled for 9 pm EST (EST? ET? EST? Everything is upside down!) on ESPNU, here's a look at how the bracket is shaping up for Southeastern schools. Courtesy of The Bracket Project, a site that aggregates brackets from around the bracketosphere while also making its own predictions.
Boston College (ACC) and UAB (Conference USA) are the highest-ranked teams with ties to Southeastern conferences, both earning 1 seeds. VCU (CAA) arrives as a 2 seed, though they make the NCAA Tournament in one of Jerry Palm's recent brackets. Maryland takes a 4 and Miami a 5, giving the ACC three NIT teams.
Ole Miss is the only SEC team featured, showing up as a 6 seed. College of Charleston (SoCon), Bethune-Cookman (MEAC), Murray State (OVC), and FAU (Sun Belt) hold it down throughout for other small conferences.
Of course, all this depends on what the NCAA Tournament selection committee decides to do at 6 pm on CBS. Clemson, Alabama, Georgia, and Virginia Tech could wind up down here, while USC is among the teams some are thinking could make the big show, including SB Nation's own Chris Dobbertean.
Selection Sunday 2011 won't be an exceptional year for Southeastern non-power conferences, with only the CAA's George Mason Patriots a lock to make it in when the NCAA Tournament bracket is revealed at 6 pm EST on CBS. However, the Colonial's VCU is an extra bubbly bubble team, looking to be off the radar before a confusing conference tournament season left everything up in the air.
Belmont (Atlantic Sun), Hampton (MEAC), Morehead State (Ohio Valley), Old Dominion (CAA), UNC-Asheville (Big South), and Wofford (SoCon) are in, but which teams from the rest of the Southeast's non-ACC or -SEC conferences will join them?
SB Nation: VCU is among the next-four-out crowd in Chris Dobbertean's latest bracketology predictions.
Bracketology 101: Same story here, with Commonwealth a very long shot.
ESPN: Joe Lunardi, also, thinks VCU doesn't break the first-four-out line, but ...
CBS Sports: Jerry Palm is your man, Rams fans, putting VCU all the way to a play-in game against Virginia Tech. As of this writing, at least.
Other than the Georgia Bulldogs and Alabama Crimson Tide, the SEC's representation in the 2011 NCAA Tournament is pretty cut-and-dry. The Florida Gators, Kentucky Wildcats, and Vanderbilt Commodores are expected to receive lower-half seeds during the NCAA Tournament selection show at 6 pm ET on CBS. The Tennessee Volunteers should make it in as a first-round underdog, but they're all but certain to make it in.
And then there's the Dawgs, perhaps the bubbliest team on the entire map despite what looks to me like a solid March Madness resume, especially compared to other iffy teams like Colorado and USC, and Bama, a team that's twice beaten the Dawgs. But here's what the pros think about the SEC's biggest mysteries as of this writing:
SB Nation: Chris Dobbertean has UGA in as the NCAA Tournament field's very last team, with Bama just missing out.
Bracketology 101: Both the Bulldogs and Tide are in, with Alabama even avoiding the play-in round.
ESPN: Joe Lunardi thinks both SEC bubble teams narrowly fail to make it in.
CBS Sports: Jerry Palm says yes to Georgia, giving them a comfortable 11 seed, and no to Alabama.
Last year was supposed to be a down year in the NCAA Tournament for the ACC, with only six teams making it in, but this year is expected to be even more down-y. Most March Madness bracketologists are predicting only five ACC teams will make it into this year's tournament bracket, which will be debuted at 6 pm EST on CBS. And everybody already knows who two of those teams are.
Besides the Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels, how's the conference looking? Here's the ACC according to the four bracketologists I read (one thing they all agree on? Boston College just misses out):
SB Nation: Chris Dobbertean had Clemson and Virginia Tech comfortably in, avoiding the play-in round, at the start of yesterday's action. Both teams fell somewhat by the day's final bracketology predictions, however, with the Tigers slipping into dreaded last-four-in territory. By Sunday's bracket projection, the Tigers were out.
Bracketology 101: Clemson is the last team in, but they're in, while Virginia Tech is nice and cozy as an 11 seed.
ESPN: Joe Lunardi likes Clemson a little more than Virginia Tech, though both are stuck in the play-in round.
CBS Sports: Jerry Palm mostly agrees with Joe Lunardi on the two ACC bubble teams, though Clemson is on the brink of avoiding the round of shame.
The Georgia Bulldogs have had an interesting NCAA Tournament bracketology trajectory. Just a couple weeks ago, a win over Tennessee seemed to have the Dawgs sitting pretty, but a pair of losses to Alabama and some conference tourney surprises around the country have Georgia fans sweating Selection Sunday, which is scheduled to air at 6 pm EST (or is it ET now, or was it already?) on CBS.
What do the experts think? Let me know if you can find a consensus among these:
SB Nation: On Saturday morning Chris Dobbertean of Blogging The Bracket, SB Nation's bracketology community, had the Dawgs ranked as the last team in, playing St. Mary's in the play-in round. Nothing had changed by Saturday evening's complete bracket projection. Mighty perilous standing, and Sunday's going to feature one long, long hour if it's accurate.
Bracketology 101: The most accurate bracketologists of three or more years experience who are still in practice as far as I can tell, B101 also has Georgia among the last four in as of Saturday night, though the Dawgs are at least not the very last here.
ESPN: Late Saturday night, Georgia showed up on Joe Lunardi's bracket as one of the first four out. Strong conference tournament runs by the Virginia Tech Hokies, Colorado Buffaloes, Penn St. Nittany Lions, and USC Trojans don't help UGA in Lunestra's eyes, as those are his last four in. Might he be overvaluing conference tournament games? That's what Athens is hoping, at least.
For more on Georgia basketball, visit Dawg Sports.
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