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Three reasons why George Washington could make the NIT

After George Washington’s heartbreaking 70-67 loss to 3-seed Richmond in the Quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 Tournament, what comes next is a little unclear. Obviously, GW  is not in contention for an at-large birth in the NCAA Tournament, so right now, the best Colonials fans can hope for is a bid to the NIT Tournament. Should GW be left out of the NIT, then they would likely end up in the CBI or CIT Tournament. Here’s three reasons why George Washington could make this year’s NIT field, even though their numbers aren’t exactly amazing.

1. Being defending champions has to count for something

For the first time ever, GW is the defending champions of a national postseason tournament. As heartbroken as you may be from the Colonials’ loss to Richmond, hold onto that fact, if nothing else. Hopefully that fact will help the selection committee view George Washington favorably. Last season, GW defeated Hofstra, Monmouth, Florida, San Diego State and Valparaiso en route to the program’s first ever postseason title. Should the Colonials make the NIT, this is definitely a team that could do some damage.

2. GW ended the season as one of the hottest teams in the nation

In a year when George Washington had already played themselves out of a possible NCAA Tournament at-large position, they ironically found a way to close the season the way they needed to. Including the A-10 Tournament, GW won six consecutive games prior to their loss to Richmond in the A-10 Quarterfinals. The streak began back on February 19th with a victory at Duquesne, followed by wins over UMass, George Mason, Fordham, Dayton and Saint Louis (in the A-10 Tournament Second Round).

After having their RPI ranking plummet to as low as the 140s, GW has finally cracked the top-100 and sits at 98. One last thing: last season GW’s RPI was #65 and made the NIT. Syracuse currently sits at #84 and is in contention for the NCAA Tournament somehow (aka ACC MEGA BIAS). So an RPI of 98 doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

3. They’ll need some help

A smaller number of auto-bids to the NIT could help their chances, but GW is going to need some help. Here’s a list of the of automatic-qualifiers as of now:

  • Belmont (Ohio Valley)
  • Illinois State (Missouri Valley)
  • Monmouth (MAAC)
  • Oakland (Horizon League)
  • South Dakota (Summit League)
  • UNC-Greensboro (SoCon)
  • UT-Arlington (Sun Belt)
  • Akron (MAC)
  • UC-Irvine (Big West)
  • CSU-Bakersfield (WAC)
  • Princeton (Ivy League) 

(Princeton has not finished their conference tournament yet).

It certainly helps that teams like Middle Tennessee State and Vermont, who were so dominant in the regular season won their conference tournaments. If it comes down to one bid, GW fans will really want Princeton to beat Yale today.

While so many people this time of year are talking about the NCAA Tournament bubble, George Washington currently is the definition of a NIT bubble team. Tune into ESPNU at 8:30PM tonight to see if the Colonials can make the field of 32.

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Daniel Frank is a member of the George Mason Class of 2022. He graduated high school from the Academy For Individual Excellence in Louisville, KY. He ...