‘Cats Dealt 4-Seed & NIT 1st Round Match-Up With Akron on Tuesday

Wow. How is your Sunday going? If you’re a Northwestern fan – not good. After confirming the expected bubble bursting for the NCAA Tournament, most of us diehards expected a top two seed in the NIT. Erhhhhhhh! Northwestern got a 4-seed against the Akron Zips of the MAC in a Tuesday night match-up at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Should the ‘Cats beat one of the better 3-point shooting defenses out there (uh-oh), we then get to return to the very same state that ended our season last year when we lost to Washington State in the NIT quarterfinals. This time, we’d be playing the Pac 12 regular season champs, Washington, who were also left out of the Big Dance.

If you believed what you read ad nauseum in Bracketology over the past week then some of the seedings were perplexing at best. Drexel gets a 3-seed while Seton Hall gets a 1-seed. NITology is no Joe Lunardi as even someone dedicated to predicting this was way off having teams like Illinois (he projected a 5-seed) not even get selected. He had NU as a 2-seed and didn’t have Illinois State even in the consolation tournament.

Whatever, it’s the NIT. What becomes very interesting here is whether or not an early exit will impact Jim Phillips’ decision on our coach’s future. I had thought a 2-seed at worst, which would get us on track to at least repeat what we did last year with a solid chance at making it to New York. Now, if we should lose to an Akron in the opening round – at home no less – it could change things.

Tonight’s NIT selection show just evoked a series of “huh?!!” moments from me, but NU will have a chance to make their statement on the court. Let’s just hope we’re working on the final three minutes of close game situations as we speak. Stay tuned for more on the Zips.

  • cece

    seton hall? seriously. what the what?!?

    the 4 seed is a bad position. gak.

  • CrankyCat

    Arguing NIT seeds – rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. In a way we should thank the NIT committee for giving us something to talk about to take the focus off the blown chances we had this year to get into the dance.

    I hope some of us take this opportunity to learn the folly of apologist statements like “well at least we’ll be a 1 seed in the NIT” when we let games slip through our fingers.

  • David

    The seeding is outrageous….however, I live in Seattle and would love to have the Cats come to town.

  • Pittsburgh Wildcat

    I posted this on WR as well:

    Clearly the NCAA tourney committee and the NIT committee were prioritizing different things. I don’t think that’s going out on a limb, and several teams besides NU have to be head-scratching at this year’s seeding.

    Instead, maybe it is time for the selection criteria, and the application of said criteria, to be more consistent — and have the NCAA put a bunch of current administrators together for an NIT seeding committee instead of a bunch of old retired coaches doing it?

    The NIT is still “postseason play,” but the “rules” are obviously different. Back in 1994, we made the NIT at 14-13 in the regular season. That doesn’t even come close anymore. And with 25 of 32 teams in the NIT winning 20 games or more already, it might be time for the NCAA to take over more than just financially.

    By the way, the NCAA selection committee gets a big round of applause for increasing its transparency this year. Releasing the weekly nitty gritty sheets and they’re going to release the 1-68 seeding list too. You can agree or disagree with selections or seeds to NCAAs, but at least they’re not hiding.

    NIT selection committee…..I’m sorry, were there any real questions asked of the NIT committee chair on ESPN’s NIT selection show? I must have missed them.

    • Db

      Its funny that people think anyone cares about properly seeding and selecting the nit. It’s basically the charleston classic with some inkling of qualification. Its like the bowl selection process at the bottom – quality has little to do with it – its who shows up and what match ups can they create for tv. It’s a made for tv event that saves a couple coach’s jobs. That’s it, that’s where we are. No one cares.

      If u are curious what tv thinks of northwestern, we had the minimum amount of games on espn possible, and most were against bad teams to use up their musts in fewer games. And this was our banner year right? So no one is interested in us advancing per se. Washington has about a billion more people that care about its program than we do.

    • Db

      Iowa is in at 17-16.

      So the dream is still alive for those that pine for the byrdsong era.

      • Ron

        Your news that Iowa made the NIT sent me to BHGP- where they are in fact celebrating the news. Bizarro stuff.

    • long-term view

      +1. It’s sad that people are on here complaining about NIT seeds, but helps put our fan base in perspective.

      The NIT is what it is. A second rate tournament that very few people care about. As such, I believe they probably attempt to run it more like a business (I don’t buy the below) – ensure highest attendance possible and best matchups throughout the tournament.

      For those interest, the principles of NIT selection and seeding:

    • PittsburghWildcat

      I don’t disagree with what DB says. But the NIT is being positioned as a more legit postseason tourney now that the NCAA has taken control. The team manual (it’s online in PDF) for NIT teams reads like an NCAA tournament manual.

      If the NIT wants to be the “let’s make money first” tournament like in decades past, fine. But that’s not what the NIT is purporting to be — at least publicly.

      I just want them to be consistent in word and deed. Probably a pipe dream, I know.

      Profit is supposed to be the #1 priority for the 48 teams that play in the CIT and the CBI (can you believe there’s 48 teams selected for postseason AFTER the NIT?)

  • Db

    Things that don’t tie for me:
    1- no one says boo the last 2 yrs when we didn’t even deserve an nit bid and got in
    2 – now, our 4 seed is a travesty! Even though almost all of the teams ahead of us the NCAA committee agreed with
    3 – the nit is a commercial event. They try to get match-ups, take court availability and potential attendance into account. the chair of the NCAA committee explicitly said we were at best the 7th team out, so a bottom 2 low 3 was our best case scenario. And a 4 is crazy? Outrageous?

    Then the kicker is @ltp starts with the “if we can handle Akron” line…so we shd have been an NCAA team, shd have been a top nit seed, but now we are already whining about getting Akron at home? What happened to our no bad loss badge of honor stat? We shall defend!

    Just stop it.

    • NUNUNU

      Akron has a better RPI than us – maybe if we beat them we can ask the NCAA to re-do the brackets now that the ‘Cats have gotten their extra quality win everyone wanted from us?

  • Db

    This will be the last time I say this, but I am going to say it again. We have to schedule better. Some bullshit SOS calc doesn’t mean anything. You have to get wins against real teams. It was embarrassing reading responses here touting the likes of the lsu, Tulsa, ga tech and seton hall wins. People literally think playing good football schools matters. Did you hear about any of those teams save SH today?

    If you want any more proof that defending that schedule was a losing hand, we just went 8-10 in the hardest conference by far in the last 10 years, had a win over a number 1 seed, lost no bad games…and still were not even considered for a tourney spot. How could that be you ask? A lot of reasons, but one that was in our control – we did not give our kids a chance to beat real teams in the preseason. We played two real preseason games – loaded up all of the pressure we could find in those 2 games and buried it on the kids.

    We couldn’t have played notre dame in the united center? Or played Marquette in a home and home? Either of those wins would have put us in a different spot. And losses do not matter when you play good teams. Instead we schedule with almost no upside, and so any upset is catastrophic to our chances.

    • PittsburghWildcat

      Maybe scheduling tourneys like the one in Charleston is a good 1st step. Relative to other B1G teams, our nonconf SOS number was fine. I recognize what you’re saying on a quality basis, though, and not just limiting to a quantitative calculation.

      I agree we didn’t put our team in any stressful situations against top of the line opponents via the nonconf scheduling (a few middle of the line, but not top of the line). The closest we came in the schedule was Baylor, and wow was the stress removed quickly in that men-vs-boys performance.

      But I think you summed it up well with “You have to get wins against real teams.”

      • db

        The best way to accomplish this is the pre-season tourneys, but much better ones. I dont know if it is possible to get invited when you don’t travel, but if you can find a better tournament, that is the best case scenario. Playing these middling teams is all downside with no upside. Seton Hall probably gets in if they never played us, and our W meant little.

  • TypeO

    NIT seeding is totally idiotic. A chimp throwing darts could have done better. The again, who really cares?

    • NU68

      I think the NCAA and the NIT got it just about right.

      What are you gonna say when NU blows the NIT tourney?

      Wait … I know … it was all a big mistake and a injustice … it flew in the face of common sense, it was our facilities, no …it was the fans’ fault.

      What a load of BS.

      • TypeO

        I am going to say we under-achieved. Happy?

  • CatFanSeattle

    I have always been under the impression that since NIT games are played at home arenas that attendance is a factor (acknowledged or not…) in seeding. I even recall several years ago that UW (Washington…) was a lower NIT seed than expected and the head coach Lorenzo Romar came right out and said it was because the athletic department wasn’t willing to guarantee a return on tickets sold to the NIT committee.

    Dunno if that is true today or not.

  • Bear 44

    Something to consider when thinking of NIT seeding (seriously?) and why we were not even being truly considered for the NCAA tourney. Most of the country and its media does not watch a Cat game from start to finish. If you think otherwise, you are kidding yourself. BUT, when we are up 4 with four minutes to go against MI, or tied against Inidiana late at IN, or making a remarkable comeback against OSU, or….on and on and on this year, guys tune in and see what is going on. Only to see us crap the bed again. Their impression is the good team must have been flat, bc NU can’t even inbound the ball, how can they be hanging with MI, PUR, IN etc. They didn’t see how much of a mismatch Shurna can be, or how hot Crawford can get, they only see 4 minutes of a team that can’t defend, shoot or pass the ball. We see 40 minutes, often of nice basketball, they see 4 minutes of a team that is clearly a 4 seed in the NIT. I sure hope Carmody can lead us to a better NIT seeding next year. Fingers crossed

  • calmer than you are

    Here’s some more insight into how close we came (not very close at all).


    We were at least 8 spots away from a trip to Dayton . . . and probably more.

    We should fire Bill Carmody as soon as our NIT run ends.