Friday, March 12, 2010

Does the NIT want UNC Tar Heels?

GREENSBORO -- North Carolina wants to play in the NIT.

Now the question is: Does the NIT want UNC?

Les Robinson, N.C. State's former athletics director and a member of the eight-person NIT selection committee, said this morning he was not allowed to reveal who was on his list of 32 teams that he will submit to begin the selection process. (Each committee member submits a list, and they begin whittling down from there.)

"I would be surprised if they [the Tar Heels] weren't on the board, but I can say that about 25, 30 teams," he said, adding that that includes the Wolfpack, which
hasn't hurt themselves" by upsetting Clemson Thursday night in the ACC tournament's first round.

State faces Florida State in the league quarterfinals tonight.

Robinson, who was sitting in the airport preparing to fly to Indianapolis to meet with the committee, said that beating Georgia Tech on Thursday night would have helped UNC's chances, "but the thing is, a bunch of good teams lost in the first round."

Carolina's "plusses," he said, its .500 (16-16) record, a "respectable" RPI (No. 85 as of Monday, according to, and some close losses. The NIT uses the same procedure as the NCAA to select its 32-team field, meaning injuries are taken into account.

That could help the Tar Heels, given that nine different UNC players missed at least one game because of an injury. One of those, Tyler Zeller - who missed 10 games - is back and playing well.

What could hurt the Tar Heels, as well as UNC-Charlotte, though, is the fact that the NIT automatically invites the regular-season champion of any NCAA Division I conference that doesn't make the NCAA tournament. So far, there are eight automatic qualifiers: Kent State, Weber State, Troy, Coastal Carolina, Quinnipiac, Jacksonville, Stony Brook and Jackson State.

That leaves only 24 more invitations, as of right now.

The NIT field will be announced at 9 p.m. on ESPNU; first-round games begin Tuesday and Wednesday.

UNC coach Roy Williams, who never has coached in the NIT, said his team would accept an invitation if asked.

"Are we worthy enough to be invited? That I don't know,'' he said Thursday night. "There's people ... that get to make those decisions, maybe that won't even invite us. But if somebody invites me to go play, we're going to go play."

Point guard Larry Drew II said the team wanted to continue to play to prepare for the future - and maybe find a way to make a brighter end for this disappointing season. He knows there are fans out there who think the Tar Heels - who won the NCAA title last season - should turn down the NIT and end the season at .500. Asked how he would respond to that mindset, he said:

"To those people, honestly, to those people, I would say that they can't have their way all the time. Some people are just so spoiled, man. Especially Carolina fans, just because, you know, the whole tradition. It's not necessarily a bad thing, it's just the way it is. But to those fans: Yes, we haven't been performing up to the standards of the usual North Carolina basketball team, but we can't be perfect all the time, and we're human, too."

-- Robbi Pickeral


Anonymous said...

This Carolina alum wants you to stay home and figure out what went wrong this season and why.

Anonymous said...

Right, Larry...we are all human. And you're a human turnover waitin' to happen.

Benny said...

Has the NIT ever invited a team with a .500 record? Can't remember one.

Anonymous said...

Don't let the door hit you on the way our Larry. Leave now - go back to UCLA. Opens up a scholly to go after Knight

Anonymous said...

I think les was just being politically correct by not saying unc had no shot.That rpi rating is now at 130,and there are just too many 18-12 teams who are better than chapel hole.The tarholio's could pay to be in the cbi,or maybe roy will pay it from the proceeds of his cry-all book haha. It's been fun watching the bleached blue suck,but even more fun reading the excuses from the UNChoke faithful and the observer writers.Now.....let's all root for duke and state!!

Anonymous said...

watching this meltdown has been hilarious, I dont want it to end! THe best thing for unc is for Drew to come back, he will be the best shot you got since Marshall actually sux. Also, hate to break it to you but your boy Barnes aint that great. Bullock will be good tho. Oh and you got no shot at Knight, he is to smart to set himself for tire tracks on his back from good ol boy roy

Anonymous said...

To smart or too smart? And keep telling yourself Barnes isn't that good.

Anonymous said...

The last time I checked...we still hung banners 2 of the last 5 years. Any other ACC team have that...?

I also think it is funny that people say that Harrison Barnes is not that good. If he went to Duke, everyone would be flipping out over him.

Anonymous said...

I am a Duke fan, and now am also a Larry Drew fan. Calling out his own fan base. I love it. You know youre a bunch of brats when youre own player calls you out. Also, to Mr Anon, who likes to refer to their last 2 championships, in 95 when Duke sucked, they could have easily tried to justify it by saying they had won 2 championships and played in another in the previous 5 years. But it still doesnt take away from the fact that they sucked that year, so quit whining about your past championships.

Anonymous said...

I am a Duke fan and I am enjoying all yall NC fans cryin about having a freshmen team and all But when yall suck you just suck a freshmen team could easily win as well as a senior team so stop it already I enjoy sporting my DUKE truck with flags tags clothing n tats everywhere i go to you NC fans because its DUKE's Time to Shine. Next time yall want to play come prepared.... :) GO DUKE

Anonymous said...

It's funny to see the 12 year olds rejoice.

I'm a Tarheel fan when we're National Champs and I'm a Tarheel fan when fans that left their dark blue in their drawers over the last few years start whooping it up over our trouble.

While I'm not like Duke fans and I'm not simply satisfied by ACC tourney victories and NCAA Round 2 exits I still want to play basketball this year.

I hope we get the invite and I hope we get a home game because I will be first in line for a ticket.

tarheel26 said...

Aight look.for one, I'm a die hard tar heel fan and for those of u who think larry drew is no good.... U may b right. But when u follow in the footsteps of ty lawson it kinda makes it hard for u to focus always being compared to lawson. Next year if he aint any better then u might havean argument. Two. As for mr harrison barnes who is the number 1 player in high school right now, he is just 1 piece of the puzzle that will take us back to the ncaa tourny next year. Its everyone. U know. Kinda like duke this year. If they just had 1 of their big three they wouldn't b doing anything. John wall at kentucky couldn't even do it without cousins. Its not just 1 player. Its the team. Now a message for my tarheels. Those who r there now and who r going to b there in the future. Keep your heads held high. U have nothing to b ashamed of. U play for the best program out there. be proud of that jersey u put on. Make chapel hill live again and make some noise next year. Its all yours

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