Georgia Tech’s spot in NIT may not be a lock

Georgia Tech guard Josh Okogie (5) is helped up by teammates after drawing a foul on a shot against Pittsburgh during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the first round of the ACC tournament, Tuesday, March 7, 2017, in New York. Pittsburgh won 61-59. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

After his team lost to Pittsburgh in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Tuesday night, Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner spoke of an NIT berth as a foregone conclusion. In fact, he was still making the case that the Yellow Jackets still deserved a spot in the NCAA tournament for having finished 8-10 in the ACC, widely regarded as the top conference in the country.

However, even though the Jackets were considered to have a slim chance of playing their way into the NCAA tournament if they could pull a series of upset at the ACC tournament, a spot in the 32-team NIT field may be likely, but might not be a certainty.

In the past five years, the NIT selection committee has given at-large bids to only three power-conference teams with RPI’s higher than 90, and only one was higher than Tech’s 105. Perhaps more concerning, the NIT has not taken a team with 16 wins over that same span. In the record books, Tech is 17-15, but the NCAA selection committee does not recognize Tech’s win over Division II Tusculum. It isn’t clear how the NIT selection committee considers it, but the NIT is owned by the NCAA.

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