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Originally published March 11, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified March 24, 2007 at 9:01 PM

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19-13 Huskies unexpectedly snubbed by NIT

The National Invitational Tournament announced its 32 teams this evening, and the Washington men's basketball team was not in the field.

Seattle Times staff reporter

The Washington Huskies were so confident an NIT bid was coming that they were taped up and ready to practice tonight after hearing the news.

Instead, they watched in disbelief as they were not picked for the NIT.

The Huskies were not one of the 32 teams selected for the NIT, which has its pick of teams after the 65 that are invited to the NCAA Tournament.

"There's no way in the world I would say we would not be in the NIT," said UW coach Lorenzo Romar. "I am completely stunned."

The Huskies finished 19-13 this season and were 8-10 and seventh in the Pac-10 Conference. The top six teams were all invited to the NCAA Tournament, leaving the Huskies confident that an NIT bid was coming.

Asked if he had any idea why the Huskies would not be selected, Romar said "No. No idea why. There's not one I can imagine or conjure up in my mind.''

Unlike previous years, the NIT is seeded and bracketed like the NCAA Tournament. The Huskies had made a bid to host games if they were selected to be a host team and a UW spokesman said none of those issues were factors in not getting selected, saying it was "completely basketball-related.''

Romar, however, couldn't figure how the NIT could bypass the Huskies for purely basketball reasons.

"We had our chances this year to have a better season,'' he said. "But at the same time, I didn't feel that we put ourselves in a position where we couldn't play in the NIT.''

"I don't see what formula you use where you can't have the University of Washington in the NIT.''

Players watched together on TV in the UW locker room as the selections were announced on ESPN and were as stunned as Romar.

"We were shocked,'' said freshman center Spencer Hawes. "I'm still shocked.''

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The end of the season means Hawes may possibly have played his last game for the Huskies. The freshman is considering leaving for the NBA. He said Sunday the snub "could figure into (his decision) it could not. That's the last thing on my mind right now.''

UW had played in the NCAA Tournament the last three seasons and was expecting to at least tie a school record with a fourth-straight postseason.

Instead, the Huskies will stay out of any postseason for the first time since 2003.

Here's the complete NIT field:

National Invitation Tournament

First Round

NORTH

Tuesday, March 13

Toledo (19-12) at Florida State (20-12), 6 p.m.

Utah State (23-11) at Michigan (21-12), 7 p.m.

MVSU (18-15) at Mississippi State (18-13), TBA

Wednesday, March 14

Providence (18-12) at Bradley (21-12), TBA

EAST

Tuesday, March 13

N.C. State (18-15) at Drexel (23-8), 8 p.m.

Alabama (20-11) at Massachusetts (23-8), 9:30 p.m.

Marist (24-8) at Oklahoma State (22-12), 10 p.m.

Delaware State (21-12) at West Virginia (22-9), TBA

WEST

Wednesday, March 14

Fresno State (22-9) at Georgia (18-13), 7 p.m.

Vermont (25-7) at Kansas State (22-11), 8 p.m.

Austin Peay (21-11) at Air Force (23-8), 11 p.m.

Hofstra (22-9) at DePaul (18-13), TBA

SOUTH

Wednesday, March 14

ETSU (24-9) at Clemson (21-10), 6 p.m.

South Alabama (20-11) at Syracuse (22-10), 7 p.m.

San Diego State (21-10) at Missouri State (22-10), 10 p.m.

Appalachian State (25-7) at Mississippi (20-12), TBA

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