2014 CBI Tournament Bracketology: Purdue Could Return To Tournament

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sport

Purdue played in last season's College Basketball Invitational. Could the Boilers head there for a second straight season?

Purdue's 2013-14 season may not be over with a loss on Thursday to Ohio State. At 15-16, Purdue needs to beat at least Ohio State and Nebraska to assure it will finish at .500 and be eligible for the NIT. Had Purdue beaten Northwestern on Sunday it at least would have been eligible.

Even if Purdue does become eligible, there may not be space left in the NIT. There are 32 NIT bids to be handed out, but if a team is a regular season champion of a conference it automatically qualifies for the NIT if it fails to win its conference tournament to reach the NCAAs (or, if it is not selected as at at large team). Already, seven teams that won their respective conferences have been eliminated and will take NIT bids: Belmont, Davidson, Florida Gulf Coast, High Point, Iona, Vermont, and Wisconsin-Green Bay. Wisconsin-Green Bay and Belmont have an outside shot at an at large bid, but it is unlikely. Robert Morris, which won the NEC, will likely take up an eighth automatic bid as they are losing by 17 with five minutes left in their conference title game.

Obviously, that will shift teams around, and BracketMatrix.com reflects that:

There are now 7 automatic bids in this bracket (Belmont, Davidson, Florida Gulf Coast, High Point, Iona, Vermont, and Wisconsin-Green Bay). Nebraska and California moved up into the NCAA bracket while Arkansas and Providence moved down to here. At the bottom of the bracket, with all the auto bids filling spots, it pushed out Boise State, Indiana State, Ole Miss, Ohio, and UNLV.   Next update on Friday.

1 - Florida State
1 - Minnesota
1 - Arkansas
1 - Georgetown
8 - Florida Gulf Coast
8 - High Point
8 - Davidson
8 - Vermont
4 - Indiana
4 - Wisconsin-Green Bay
4 - Clemson
4 - Maryland
5 - LSU
5 - North Carolina State
5 - Toledo
5 - Georgia
3 - Illinois
3 - Marquette
3 - West Virginia
3 - Missouri
6 - St. Mary's
6 - Richmond
6 - Iona
6 - Washington
2 - Providence
2 - Utah
2 - St. John's
2 - Southern Miss
7 - Oregon State
7 - San Francisco
7 - Middle Tennessee
7 - Belmont

Because people have way too much time on their hands there is a site that projects the CBI bracket, and right now Purdue, even though it could go with a losing record, is not projected as one of their teams:

Buffalo (18-9) at LaSalle (15-15)
Wake Forest (16-15) at Vanderbilt (15-15)

Houston (16-15) at Texas A&M (17-14)
Northern Iowa (15-15) at Cleveland St (19-11)

Oregon St (16-14) at UNLV (19-12)
New Mexico St (22-9) at Tulsa (18-12)

Miami (16-15) at Ole Miss (18-13)
Manhattan (24-7) at Towson (21-10)

The more teams that take up NIT auto-bids knock teams down to the third tier CBI. That is bad news for Purdue, as it makes a bid less likely, but if Purdue does get into the field there could at least be some decent opponents like Miami, Indiana State, Oregon State, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Mississippi, and Texas A&M. It would not be as embarrassing to accept a bid with a field like that, and Purdue did get in last season at 15-17.

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