To say that the North Carolina Tar Heels basketball season has been underwhelming might be an understatement. Going from the preseason No. 1 team to being left out of thew NCAA tournament is a massive fall, and an unexpected one for a team like UNC who returned four starters.
A year ago, the Tar Heels went to the national title game as a No. 8 seed. UNC brought back mostly the same roster minus forward Brady Manek, but the wheels totally fell off this year. After missing out on the NCAA tournament, the Tar Heels were invited to participate in the NIT. However, North Carolina is choosing not to play in the NIT.
Here’s the statement from the school.
Tar Heels choose not to participate in 2023 NIT.— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) March 12, 2023
: https://t.co/o6wWdno4uo pic.twitter.com/fIu4NVgX6k
This makes sense in a way for North Carolina. Because the team is so veteran laden, the NIT doesn’t necessarily make sense for a team like the Tar Heels. The NIT is more for younger teams who want to go into the offseason on a high note.
However, the fall from preseason top ranked team to not participating at all in any tournament is huge. They’re the first team since 1985 to go from preseason number one to out of the NCAA tournament, an even more shocking statement when you consider that the Tar Heels were a few shots away from winning the national title last year.
North Carolina are the first preseason #1 team to miss the NCAA tournament entirely since the tournament expanded in 1985 pic.twitter.com/SKIKmvDQIv— SB Nation (@SBNation) March 12, 2023
Instead of taking the NIT bid and potentially playing for that title, head coach Hubert Davis is going back to the drawing board to work on this team in the offseason.
Was that win over Duke in the Final Four — in Coach K’s last game — really so long ago? Fast forward one year later, and UNC’s season ends after the ACC tournament. No one could have seen that one coming.