After losing at home to Providence and on the road at Georgetown, Seton Hall is a projected 5-seed in the latest NIT bracketology released this morning.
The Pirates would travel to Richmond of the Atlantic 10 in the first round and battle the winner of Illinois vs. Kent State in the second.
According to RPIForecast.com, Seton Hall would finish with an RPI around 77 and an SOS of 39 if they beat Marquette on Wednesday night and lose to Villanova in the second round of the Big East Tournament, leaving them in relatively good shape at 17-15 to snag an NIT at-large at the moment. If they lose to Marquette, a 16-15 record and predicted RPI of 94 (SOS of 59) would surely move them to the outside looking in.
Even though a 1-1 showing at the Garden appears to be enough at this point, there is a lot that can change based on other conference tournaments. Regular season champions are handed automatic bids to the NIT if they fail to win their conference tournament and don't receive an NCAA at-large. This is common among mid- and low-majors and has already played out with Murray State (Ohio Valley), Bucknell (Patriot), and Charleston Southern (Big South).
In most cases, these schools usually "steal" NIT bids from other at-larges, generally high-major teams in the position of Seton Hall, Kansas State, Arizona State, Vanderbilt, UConn, Clemson and others.
As such, here is a complete list of top-seeded schools that would lock up automatic NIT bids if they lose in their conference tournament over the coming days.
NIT Championship Week rooting guide
Southern: Wofford (play in final tonight; 7ET ESPN2)
MAAC: Iona (play in final tonight; 9ET ESPN2)
CAA: William & Mary (play in final tonight; 7ET NBCSN)
Summit: S. Dakota State (semis start tonight; 7ET ESPN3)
NEC: St. Francis BK (play in final Tuesday; 7ET ESPN2)
Horizon: Valparaiso (play in final Tuesday; 7ET ESPN)
MEAC: NC Central (quarterfinals start Wed.)
SWAC: Texas Southern (quarterfinals start Wed.)
Big Sky: Montana (opening round starts Thursday)
Big West: UC Davis (quarterfinals start Thursday)
WAC: New Mexico State (enter semis on Friday)
MAC: Central Michigan (enter semis on Friday)
Southland: Stephen F. Austin (enter semis on Friday)
Sun Belt: Georgia State (enter semis on Saturday)
While Iona and Valparaiso both have gaudy records, neither has the top-50 wins (Iona doesn't even have a top-100 win) to attract NCAA at-large consideration.
To reiterate, if all 14 of the above schools lost, 14 at-large bids in the NIT would be taken in addition to the three already occupied by Murray State, Bucknell and Charleston Southern.
We will revisit how the NIT projects later in the week assuming that Seton Hall goes 1-1 at the Garden. Beating Villanova would all but assure an NIT at-large while losing to Marquette would more than likely drop them from the field.