North Carolina declines invitation to NIT

Upon missing the NCAA Tournament one year after finishing as national runners-up, North Carolina said in a statement Sunday night that it would not participate in the National Invitation Tournament.

The Tar Heels were the No. 1 team in the AP preseason poll. A 20-13 season followed, ending in a loss to Virginia in the ACC tournament quarterfinals on Thursday.

According to the selection committee, North Carolina wound up as the third team outside the field of 68, after Oklahoma State and Rutgers. North Carolina became the first preseason No. 1 to miss the NCAA Tournament altogether.

The Tar Heels likely would have been a No. 1 seed in the 32-team NIT.

“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,” North Carolina coach Hubert Davis said in a statement.

“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. Many factors go into postseason play, and we believe now is the time to focus on moving ahead, preparing for next season and the opportunity to again compete for ACC and NCAA championships.”

Davis took over for retired coach Roy Williams in 2021-22 and the Tar Heels made a run to the Final Four as an eight seed, losing to Kansas in the championship game.

Teams generally do not turn down invitations to the NIT, though in 2020-21 season several programs declined to play in the second-tier tournament out of health and safety concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The NIT field will be revealed later Sunday night.

–Field Level Media