Guymon Daily Herald
UNC slides from preseason No. 1 to no NCAA bid
North Carolina started the year at No. 1 only to miss the NCAA Tournament. And that was enough for the Tar Heels to call it a season.
The Tar Heels on Sunday officially became the first top-ranked team in The Associated Press preseason poll to miss March Madness since the field’s expansion to 64 teams in 1985. Shortly after the NCAA field of 68 teams was revealed, the school announced it had “chosen not to participate” in the NIT to end its season.
In a statement, coach Hubert Davis said the focus all season had been for the team to reach its potential and have another shot at the NCAA title that had eluded the Tar Heels in last March’s magical run to the championship game. Instead, as Davis said, the season “wasn’t what we had hoped for.”
“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 said.
The statement came a few hours before the NIT field of 32 teams was to be unveiled.
The Tar Heels (20-13) returned four starters from last year’s wild postseason ride under Davis, who was in his first season replacing retired Hall of Famer Roy Williams.
The highlight was beating Duke in the Final Four — and sending Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski into retirement — in the first-ever NCAA Tournament meeting between the famed rivals.
Yet little went to plan in a season of unfulfilled expectations, down to being listed as one of the first four teams outside the field.