In a move that surprised many – and that is being criticized by some – the University of North Carolina men’s Tar Heel basketball team has chosen not to participate in the NIT – the National Invitational Tournament, which invites good teams that weren’t one of the 68 teams selected for the NCAA Tournament.
The Tar Heels finished out the 2022-2023 basketball season with a 20-13 record that lacked enough high-quality wins to warrant a bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Heels did come much closer to making the tournament than expected by most bracketology experts. Carolina was the third team left out.
In a statement released almost immediately after NIT bids went out on Sunday, March 12, Tar Heel Head Coach Hubert Davis offered the following: “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. 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.”
It is very rare for a team to decline a bid to the NIT since fans want to see their teams keep playing and coaches often view it as a way to get in extra practice and work to prepare for the following year.
Davis offered this reasoning: “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 concluded, “I also want to thank our great fans for their incredible support. Our commitment to you is what drives us to improve our program in every way.”
Greg Brownstein, a UNC graduate and fan living in Winston-Salem, told the Rhino, “It’s a silly move.”
He added that it was premature and comes off as sour grapes.