UW men’s basketball awaits NIT fate
The Huskies (17-15) could see their six-year postseason streak come to an end if they don’t get an at-large berth to the NIT.
Seattle Times staff reporter
NIT Selection Show, 5:30 p.m., ESPNU
The Washington men’s basketball team’s season and its six-year postseason streak could end Sunday.
The Huskies’ bid for an NCAA tournament berth was dashed Wednesday after a 67-61 loss to Utah in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament.
It’s nervous time for the Huskies (17-15), who are sitting on the National Invitation Tournament bubble for the second straight year.
They’ll discover their fate at 5:30 p.m. during the NIT Selection Show on ESPNU.
Washington’s anxiety stems from a less-than-stellar 102 RPI, according to RealTimeRPI.com. UW is also 4-7 in its past 11 games.
However, the Huskies have history with the NIT.
In 2013, Washington nabbed a No. 6 seed and lost in the first round at BYU. As a No. 1 seed in 2012, Washington advanced to the NIT semifinals before losing to Minnesota at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Still, coach Lorenzo Romar was unsure if the Huskies would make a third straight trip to the NIT.
“I just don’t know where we’re at with that one,” he said Wednesday. “We’ll see how things shake out this week.”
Regular-season conference winners who don’t make the NCAA tourney are awarded automatic NIT berths. There are 14 possible teams (Louisiana Tech, Southern, Georgia State, Davidson, Boston University, Belmont, Robert Morris, Iona, Wisconsin-Green Bay, High Point, Vermont, Florida Gulf Coast, Utah Valley and UC Irvine) with an automatic NIT bid, leaving 18 at-large berths.
According to the Bracket Matrix, a website that projects the NIT bracket, Washington is one of a handful of bubble teams standing on the outside of the 32-team tournament.
The Huskies have indicated that they would decline a berth to the College Basketball Invitational, which makes the NIT their only chance to extend the season.
During the previous 11 seasons under Romar, Washington failed to play in a postseason tournament following the 2002-03 and 2006-07 seasons.
If the Huskies don’t receive a NIT berth Sunday, then it will be the end of C.J. Wilcox’s record-setting career at UW. The senior guard is the school’s career leader in three-pointers and ranks second on the all-time scoring list.
Huskies to China
Washington will play a nonconference game against Texas in China on Nov. 14, 2015. It will be the first regular-season contest in that country for a major U.S. team, collegiate or professional.
“We’re very excited to be a part of this trip and to represent the Pac-12,” Romar said in a statement released by UW. “Basketball has become one of the most popular sports in China in the last decade, and we’re excited to get over there and compete. This will be a very unique educational experience for our team, and we’re really looking forward to it.”