As I write this, I see my bracket is already outdated. After toiling away in the NIT as low as a 4 seed in my projections after losing 5 of 6, Connecticut has won 3 straight including wins over Villanova and West Virginia. Before tonite's win, my bracket had them as the first team out, staying out mostly because of its 6-8 record in the Big East. Come Friday, the Huskies could be as high as a 10 seed.
There was a bit of shuffling in the top seeds. Purdue had already become a 1 seed in last Friday's bracket. Pittsburgh moved up to a 3 seed by virtue of its win over Villanova on Sunday. Michigan State moved down to a 5 after its home loss to Ohio State.
The first teams out are the aforementioned Connecticut Huskies along with Arizona State, Minnesota, and Mississippi State. They can be found on the top line of the NIT projections.
By email, I got questions about long shots for the NCAA tourney including Cincinnati and Michigan. The interesting thing about these teams is that they both have difficult schedules remaining which means chances to build up their resumes quickly. Obviously, Cincinnati has the better shot right now. After what should be an easy game against DePaul, the Bearcats finish up the season against West Virginia, Villanova, and Georgetown. If they win two out of three and get a quality win in the Big East tournament (beating DePaul again wouldn't help much), they should be right at the cut line.
Michigan's road got a lot tougher after their home loss to Penn State. Even though they finish the season against Illinois, Ohio State, Minnesota, and Michigan State, a sweep will likely only get them to the top half of the NIT. A run to the title game is a requirement. They don't necessarily have to win it; just get there. Losing one more time in the regular season means they will have to win the Big Ten tournament.