Tar Heels to skip NIT, ‘focus on moving forward’

North Carolina entered the season as the No. 1 team in America in the Associated Press preseason poll. After an improbable fall ending with no berth in the NCAA Tournament on Selection Sunday, UNC’s campaign is over.

The Tar Heels, the first team to start No. 1 and miss the NCAA Tournament since expansion in 1985, announced they would not accept an invitation to the NIT.

“Our focus and goal all season has been to be the best team we can be and reach our full potential to give us another chance to compete, play and win an NCAA Championship,” coach Hubert Davis said in a statement. “Although we no longer have that opportunity and this season is not what we had hoped for, I want to thank our players and staff for their hard work and love of Carolina basketball.”

A year ago, North Carolina advanced through the NCAA Tournament field and held a 12-point lead over Kansas in the national title game before ultimately losing to the Jayhawks. Armando Backot and other stars are back from that UNC squad, and now, the Tar Heels are at the center of one of the best collapses in NCAA history.

The four-game losing streak that began in November was the beginning of drama for a North Carolina team that has made just 30% of its 3-point attempts in league play in a year after making 37% of those shots in ACC action.

Davis is ranked 24th in the 2023 recruiting class by ESPN.

“Many factors go into postseason play and we believe now is an opportunity to focus on moving forward, preparing for next season and competing again for the ACC and NCAA championships,” Davis said in the statement. “I also want to thank our great fans for their incredible support. Our commitment to you is what drives our program to improve in every way.”

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