By R.L. Bynum
After not earning the chance to make another run at the Final Four, North Carolina’s men’s team has declined an opportunity to play in the National Invitation Tournament.
“Many factors go into postseason play and we believe now is the time to focus on moving head, preparing for next season and the opportunity to again compete for ACC and NCAA championships,” UNC coach Hubert Davis said in a statement the school released Sunday.
The Tar Heels (20–13), probably needing three wins at last week’s ACC Tournament in Greensboro, only beat Boston College 85–61 before falling to Virginia 68–59 in the quarterfinals.
After losing to the Cavaliers, Carolina players wouldn’t say directly if they wanted to play in the NIT, only saying they would go along with whatever the team decides. The decision obviously was not to play, which means the college careers of Leaky Black and Pete Nance are over.
In a cruel twist for Nance, Northwestern will go to the NCAA tournament after the Wildcats failed to make the field in Nance’s four years there.
“All season our focus and goal have been on being the best team we can possibly become and reaching our full potential to give us another opportunity to compete, play for and win an NCAA championship,” Coach Davis said. “Although we no longer have that opportunity and this season wasn’t what we had hoped for, I want to thank our players and staff for their hard work and love for Carolina basketball.”
Carolina has played in the NIT six times, winning four games before falling to Dayton 79–68 in the championship game in 2010. That season, one year after the Tar Heels won the 2009 national championship, they beat William & Mary 80–72 in Carmichael Arena in the first round.
The consensus that season was that the players didn’t want to go to the NIT, but Coach Roy Williams decided that the team could use the experience.
The only other time that the Tar Heels won more than three NIT games was when they won the 1971 title with four victories. They defeated Julius Erving and Massachusetts in the first round 90–49, Providence 86–79 in the quarterfinals, Duke 73–67 in the semifinals and Georgia Tech 84–66 in the championship game.
|28||Friday||W, 101–40||Johnson C. Smith||Home||Exhibition|
|11||Friday||W, 102–86||College of Charleston||Home||2–0|
|20||Sunday||W, 80–64||James Madison||Home||4–0|
|Phil Knight Invitational|
|24||Thursday||W, 89–81||First round: Portland||Portland||5–0|
|27||Sunday||L, 103–101, |
No. 1 Alabama
|ACC/Big Ten Challenge|
|30||Wednesday||L, 77–65||No. 21 Indiana||Bloomington, Ind.||5–3|
|4||Sunday||L, 80–72||Virginia Tech||Blacksburg, Va.||5–4, |
|10||Saturday||W, 75–59||Georgia Tech||Home||6–4, |
|13||Tuesday||W, 100–67||The Citadel||Home||7–4|
|CBS Sports Classic|
|17||Saturday||W, 89–84, OT||Ohio State||New York||8–4|
|30||Friday||L, 76–74||Pittsburgh||Pittsburgh||9–5, |
|4||Wednesday||W, 88–79||Wake Forest||Home||10–5, |
|7||Saturday||W, 81–64||Notre Dame||Home||11–5, |
|10||Tuesday||L, 65–58||No. 14 Virginia||Charlottesville||11–6, |
|14||Saturday||W, 80–59||Louisville||Louisville, Ky.||12–6, |
|17||Tuesday||W, 72–64||Boston College||Home||13–6, |
|21||Saturday||W, 80–69||N.C. State||Home||14–6, |
|24||Tuesday||W, 72–68||Syracuse||Syracuse, N.Y.||15–6, |
|1||Wednesday||L, 65–64||Pittsburgh||Home||15–7, |
|4||Saturday||L, 63–57||No. 12 Duke||Durham||15–8, |
|7||Tuesday||L, 92–85||Wake Forest||Winston-Salem||15–9, |
|11||Saturday||W, 91–71||Clemson||Home|| 16–9, |
|13||Monday||L, 80–72||No. 16 Miami||Home||16–10, |
|19||Sunday||L, 77–69||N.C. State||Raleigh||16–11, |
|22||Wednesday||W, 63–59||Notre Dame||South Bend, Ind.||17–11, |
|25||Saturday||W, 71–63||No. 14 Virginia||Home||18–11, |
|27||Monday||W, 77–66||Florida State||Tallahassee, Fla.||19–11, |
|4||Saturday||L, 62–57||No. 12 Duke||Home||19–12,|
|8||Wednesday||W, 85–61||Boston College||Greensboro||20–12|
|9||Thursday||L, 68–59||No. 14 Virginia||Greensboro||20–13|
Photo courtesy of the ACC