UW in good spot, wrong tournament

todd.dybas@thenewstribune.comMarch 17, 2013 

LAS VEGAS — The discussion now shifts to whether the Washington Huskies will actually get into the National Invitation Tournament for the second consecutive season.

Their head coach isn’t so sure.

“I can’t predict what happens in postseason anymore,” Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said after the Huskies were eliminated from the Pac-12 tournament. “(In) 2007 we won 19 games and I thought we were two games away from being in the NCAA tournament. We didn’t get an NIT bid that year, so (I’m) not sure what’s going to happen. Obviously, I think we deserve an NIT bid.”

Based on last year’s teams, the Huskies have a good chance.

Washington’s profile measures up well with Minnesota’s from a year ago. The Golden Gophers ended up a sixth seed in the 2012 NIT — the lowest is an eight — and made it to the championship game.

According to ESPN.com, Minnesota was 19-14, 89th in RPI and 53rd in RPI strength of

schedule. It had one win against a top-25 RPI team. It was 4-8 in its final 12 games. It had two losses to teams with an RPI of 101 or lower.

This season’s Huskies finished 18-15 with an RPI of 90 and an RPI strength of schedule of 37, according to the ESPN website.

However, it has more bad losses than Minnesota did. The Huskies have five losses — at home against Albany, Nevada and Utah and at USC and Oregon State — that can all be labeled “bad.” All of those teams have RPIs of 101 or lower.

The lowest-seeded power-conference team last season was seventh-seeded Iowa. The Hawkeyes were 17-16, 130th in the RPI and had an RPI SOS of 92. In the Hawkeyes’ favor were four wins over top-25 RPI foes.

The NIT takes 32 teams, which are selected by an eight-member panel chaired by basketball legend C.M. Newton. Fourteen of last year’s 32 NIT teams were from power conferences.

The selection process is multifaceted and highly subjective:

 • All votes will be by secret ballot.

 • Among the resources available to the committee are complete box scores; game summaries and notes; pertinent information submitted on a team’s behalf by its conference; various computer rankings; head-to-head results; chronological results; NCAA Division I results; non-conference results; home, away and neutral-court results; rankings; polls; and the National Association of Basketball Coaches regional advisory committee rankings.

 • The regular-season champion of any NCAA Division I conference (as determined by the conference’s tiebreaker protocol) not otherwise selected to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship will secure an automatic qualification to the National Invitation Tournament. This rule chips away at Washington’s chances since teams such as Stony Brook of the America East, which won the regular season title but did not win the conference tournament, receive automatic entry to the NIT.

 • The committee shall select the best available teams to fill the NIT field.

 • There is no limit on the number of teams the committee may select from one conference. This could help the Atlantic 10 place up to six teams in the NIT.

Washington will learn today after the NCAA tournament field is announced if it made the NIT. It would not accept an invitation to the College Basketball Invitational.

todd.dybas@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports @Todd_Dybas

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