With the Senior Day win over Wake Forest, NC State is now assured of no worse than a .500 record when the ACC Regular Season and Tournament is over. Currently, the Wolfpack is 15-13 with at least two games to play, at Maryland to end the season, and a most likely 7/10 match-up in the ACC Tournament in Tampa.
Many assume that an NIT bid is in the hand. But is it? Changes have been made to the NIT postseason tournament since the NCAA took it over in 2006. In summary, these are the changes:
1)You no longer need a .500 or above record to be selected to the NIT tournament. Although please note that no team was selected last year with a sub .500 record.
2)There is a true NIT selection committee, with actual procedures to select the teams. You can read all about the selection process here. These were the committee members last year, and we assume this year as well.
3)Regular Season conference champions are guaranteed a spot in the NIT field. This doesn’t impact Regular Season champions of major conferences like the ACC, Big 10, etc, but it does impact lower level conferences such as the CAA, Southern Conference, etc and could impact lower level teams in major power conferences – teams like NC State. If a Regular Season champion from one of the lower level conferences doesn’t win its conference tournament and secure the automatic NCAA bid, then that team is automatically selected for the NIT. In other words, lower level conference tournament upsets means less spots available in the NIT field for teams like NC State and other power conference teams.
4)The NIT field is no longer 40 teams in size, it is 32 teams.
What does this mean for NC State? It means hopefully Lee Fowler is working the phones, making the case for NC State and Sidney Lowe to receive a NIT bid. What worries SFN is the resume of possibly 3 other ACC teams that are potential NIT field worthy. Miami and Wake are out of contention. UNC, UVA, Va Tech, Duke, Maryland and most likely BC are in the NCAA field. GT, Clemson and FSU are on the NCAA bubble (with Tech being closer to the inside, and Clemson and FSU outside looking in). Most likely ONE of those bubble teams will make the NCAA field, and two will not. Certainly, FSU and Clemson can be considered “opponents” for NC State’s NIT bid. Let’s hope Lee Fowler realizes that and is working the phones, calling those NIT committee members, and making the case for NC State.