The NIT - What's this all about?
Teams not qualifying for the NCAA tournament have the opportunity to be invited to one of three other postseason tournaments:
The NIT features a 32-team field chosen right after the NCAA chooses the 68 teams in its tournament.  It awards automatic bids to regular season conference champions who do not otherwise go to the NCAA tournament. Also, the first 4 teams out of the NCAA tournament become automatic 1 seeds in the NIT.

The CBI features 16 teams and the CIT has up to 32 teams exclusively from mid-major leagues or lower (only 26 teams participated in 2019).  The CIT does not place teams in a bracket, opting to place teams in matchups after the previous round has concluded. 

In 2021, these tournaments changed their formats in response to the pandemic. The NIT moved play to Texas and reduced the field to 16 teams. The CBI moved play to Florida and reduced the field to 8 teams. The CIT was cancelled.

Schools have been known to decline an invitation to the CBI/CIT tournaments due to the lack of interest in playing in a third-tier tournament (e.g., "We're Indiana. We don't play in the CBI.") or the pay-to-play nature of these tournaments.

 
To get a feel for what kind of teams are involved, these were the 2021 participants along with their record and NET ranking.


The 2021 NIT and CBI Teams

NIT CBI
43
Saint Louis
Atlantic 10
14-6
110
Pepperdine
West Coast
10-12
50
Boise State
Mountain West
17-8
119
Army
Patriot
11-9
51
Colorado State
Mountain West
17-6
127
Bryant
Northeast
14-6
52
Memphis
American
16-8
139
Bowling Green
MAC
13-11
53
Mississippi
SEC
16-11
154
Coastal Carolina
Sun Belt
12-7
58
Davidson
Atlantic 10
12-8
181
Bellarmine
Atlantic Sun
11-7
62
St. Mary's
West Coast
14-9
244
Longwood
Big South
12-15
65
SMU
American
11-5
266
Stetson
Atlantic Sun
9-13
67
Toledo
MAC
21-8




68
Richmond
Atlantic 10
12-8




73
North Carolina State
ACC
13-10




76
Louisiana Tech
CUSA
20-7




79
Buffalo
MAC
15-8




80
Dayton
Atlantic 10
14-9




81
Western Kentucky
CUSA
20-7




82
Mississippi State
SEC
15-14





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