Going into Friday’s games, there’s five teams that likely will accept the NIT’s automatic bids for regular-season conference champions that don’t make it into the NCAA tournament as at-large bids. That leaves 27 spots for at-large teams in the NIT.
Five mid-major teams that entered their tournaments as the top seed have won their tournaments. There’s perhaps 10 or 11 top seeds that, if they lose, would likely take an NIT spot.
Thursday was a good day for teams hoping for at-large bids to the NIT. Only one top seed lost, and that was Kansas, which will receive an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. On the other hand, TCU, which beat the Jayhawks, moved up 12 spots in RPI to No. 64, is 18-14 and has a pretty attention-getting win. After losing seven in a row to end the regular season, the Horned Frogs have won two tournament games to reach the semifinals. They play Iowa State Friday night.
In the past five seasons, about 12 automatic bids have been given out annually, according to nycbuckets.com.