UE’s NIT chances shrinking

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The final four of the 32-team NIT plays semifinals and the championship game at Madison Square Garden.

Two main National Invitation Tournament projections have UE in the field as of Saturday morning, but there are still mid-major conference tournament games left that could affect the Aces’ chances greatly.

BracketologyExpert.com’s Blake Hofstad has UE in as a six seed but adds, “Evansville Update: The Aces won’t make it if the regular season champions keep losing in conference tournaments.”

Daniel Evans, from the same website, bumped the Aces from a six to seven seed in his latest bracket, saying, “Evansville is now my last team in, meaning if any other upsets occur in conference tournaments, the Aces will be out of my projection.”

As of Saturday morning, 10 of the 32 NIT bids are taken from teams that won regular-season conference championships but won’t play in the NCAAs — the auto qualifying route to the second-tier tournament.

They come from:
1. Middle Tennessee State (Sun Belt)
2. Norfolk State (MEAC)
3. Stony Brook (America East)
4. Mercer (Atlantic Sun)
5. Niagara (MAAC)
6. Robert Morris (Northeast)
7. Charleston Southern (Big South)
8 . Louisiana Tech (WAC)
9. Northeastern (Colonial)
10. Long Beach State (Big West)

Other potential bid snatchers — should they not win conference championship games yet to be played — are Montana (Big Sky), Akron (MAC), Stephen F. Austin (Southland) and Southern (SWAC). So if you’re an Aces fan, root for those teams.

John Templon lists the Aces among his “last six out” in a bracket released Saturday. He has Northern Iowa and Indiana State from the Missouri Valley Conference in.

The other main NIT bracket predictor, The Bracket Project, has also cut its MVC inclusions to two — Northern Iowa and Indiana State. That website listed Illinois State ahead of UE on its invite list before the latest round of auto bids were claimed.

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