While most of Selection Sunday's attention landed on the field of 68 for the NCAA tournament, a different committee unveiled the 2017 NIT bracket.
Like March Madness, the NIT has a group of automatic qualifiers. Any program that wins its regular-season championship but both loses in the conference tournament and is not selected as an at-large NCAA tourney team is invited to the NIT.
Though missing the preeminent tournament is disappointing, the consolation prize still brings more basketball.
In each of the first round, second round and quarterfinals, higher-ranked seeds (with one exception) will host their matchup. The semifinals (Region 1 vs. 2; Region 3 vs. 4) and championship take place at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
|2017 NIT Seeding|
|Seed||Region 1||Region 2||Region 3||Region 4|
|5||Ole Miss||Charleston||Colorado||Fresno State|
|6||Georgia Tech||UT-Arlington||Boise State||Richmond|
|8||UNC-Greensboro||Cal-Bakersfield||UC Irvine||South Dakota|
Below is the first-round schedule.
|2017 NIT Schedule|
|Tuesday, Mar. 14||7 p.m.||No. 1 Syracuse||No. 8 UNC-Greensboro|
|Tuesday, Mar. 14||7 p.m.||No. 4 Monmouth||No. 5 Ole Miss|
|Tuesday, Mar. 14||9 p.m.||No. 3 Indiana||No. 6 Georgia Tech|
|Wednesday, Mar. 15||7 p.m.||No. 2 Georgia||No. 7 Belmont|
|Tuesday, Mar. 14||11:15 p.m.||No. 1 Cal||No. 8 CSU-Bakersfield|
|Tuesday, Mar. 14||9 p.m.||No. 4 Colorado State||No. 5 Charleston|
|Wednesday, Mar. 15||9 p.m.||No. 3 BYU||No. 6 UT-Arlington|
|Wednesday, Mar. 15||7:30 p.m.||No. 2 Houston||No. 7 Akron|
|Wednesday, Mar. 15||9:30 p.m.||No. 1 Illinois State||No. 8 UC-Irvine|
|Wednesday, Mar. 15||7 p.m.||No. 4 UCF||No. 5 Colorado|
|Tuesday, Mar. 14||10 p.m.||No. 3 Utah||No. 6 Boise State|
|Tuesday, Mar. 14||7:15 p.m.||No. 2 Illinois||No. 7 Valparaiso|
|Wednesday, Mar. 15||7 p.m.||No. 1 Iowa||No. 8 South Dakota|
|Wednesday, Mar. 15||8 p.m.||No. 4 TCU||No. 5 Fresno State|
|Tuesday, Mar. 14||9:15 p.m.||No. 3 Alabama||No. 6 Richmond|
|Tuesday, Mar. 14||8 p.m.||No. 2 Clemson||No. 7 Oakland|
Note: TV and streaming listings are available on NCAA.com.
Teams to Watch
One year after being gifted a place in the NCAA tournament, Syracuse (18-14) felt the other side of Selection Sunday.
Despite six victories over RPI top-50 teams, Jim Boeheim's team missed an at-large bid due to five bad losses, a weak nonconference schedule and an awful record away from home.
As expected, Boeheim was upset about missing March Madness. Chris Vannini of Coaching Search noted (and debunked) Boeheim's disappointment after the news:
If there is a bright side for the program, it's that the Orange won't be forced to leave upstate New York until the semifinals should they win three straight games. They posted an 8-1 record at home during ACC action, though five victories came against conference teams that didn't make the NCAA tournament.
But those are exactly the type of opponents Syracuse will face in the NIT. As long as the Orange are mentally checked in, they're the clear favorite here.
Sidenote: The first-round matchup is hilarious. Boeheim took a shot at the City of Greensboro during the ACC tournament. Now, the Orange play UNC-Greensboro.
After edging both Kansas and North Carolina early in the season, it seemed unfathomable Tom Crean's club would miss March Madness. But then, injuries and losses piled up.
Indiana (18-15) played a top-heavy nonconference schedule, so a pair of shortcomings against Louisville and Butler at neutral sites weren't a problem. However, the Hoosiers fell at Fort Wayne and consistently stumbled opposite the Big Ten's best.
Against the league's RPI top-50 teams, Indiana mustered a 1-10 record. The only win came against No. 50 Northwestern. Fortunately for the Hoosiers, they went 14-3 against sub-top-100 opponents. First up is Georgia Tech, which checks in at No. 106.
The Hoosiers will be the only higher-seeded program to not host the opening-round NIT game. Jeff Rabjohns of Peegs.com notes it's because the school is on spring break:
But even without potential first-round NBA draft pick OG Anunoby, Indiana still has plenty of talent with James Blackmon Jr., Robert Johnson and Thomas Bryant.
With a win over Georgia Tech and then either Georgia or Belmont, the Hoosiers could meet Syracuse in the Region 1 final.
Located on the opposite side of the bracket, Clemson (17-15) put together a regular season full of impressive "almost wins."
Yes, that's exactly why the Tigers aren't headed to the Big Dance. Nevertheless, they lost to North Carolina by three, Duke by two, Florida State by two, Virginia by three, Notre Dame by five, Miami by six and Virginia Tech twice by once.
Against teams that reached the NCAA tourney, Clemson finished with a 4-12 record. Otherwise, Brad Brownell's team notched a 13-3 mark, including three wins against NIT programs.
Jaron Blossomgame, who leads the Tigers at 17.5 points per game, will be one of the toughest players to defend in the tournament. If Blossomgame plays up to his potential, it's the biggest reason the Tigers can end a season of "almost" with an NIT title.
Follow Bleacher Report Writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.