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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

March 12, 2007 at 9:02 AM

Some historical perspective

Here’s our story today on Washington being left out of the NIT, which includes some material presented on the blog earlier and some that was not.
For those wondering why the Huskies were so sure they would get in, they were looking at history.
Did some checking this morning, and Washington now becomes the Pac-10 team with the most wins to not to go any post-season tournament since Stanford in 1983-84. That Stanford team went 19-12 and 8-10 and fifth in Pac-10 play. That was a time when the Pac-10 wasn’t as highly thought of as it is today, however. Only two Pac-10 teams received NCAA bids that year, No. 3 Oregon went to the NIT and No. 4 UCLA declined to go to the NIT, so there was little expectation Stanford would get an invite.
To find a Pac-10 team with more than 19 wins that didn’t get invited to any tournament, you have to go back to USC in 1974 (24-5) which was a completely different era.
Granted, there is some win inflation at work in college basketball these days, everybody’s playing a few more games, and UW’s soft early schedule led to its overall record looking better than its conference record.
Still, 8-10 in Pac-10 play with any kind of winning overall record — coupled with a few big victories late, as UW had beating UCLA and USC last week — has usually been good enough.
ASU went two years ago at 7-11 in Pac-10 play and 18-13 overall; Oregon State went the same year at 8-10 and 17-14; ASU also went in 2002 at 7-11 14-14; Cal went in 2000 at 7-11 and 16-14, winning two games in the NIT to finish 18-15.
But obviously, the NIT has changed, which might be the biggest reason UW was left out. Having to take eight regular-season champs that didn’t make the NCAA compressed the field, as did reducing the field from 40 to 32.
One warning sign might have come last season when USC was not invited despite a 17-13 overall record and 8-10 and sixth in the Pac-10. One difference is that the Trojans stumbled late last year, losing seven of their last nine. Another difference is that the NIT had already taken one Pac-10 team (Stanford) before deciding not to select USC.
Simply assuming the NIT would take at least one Pac-10 team is the biggest reason the Huskies figured they were in, especially once Stanford got into the NCAA Tournament.
Only twice since 1981 has the NIT not taken at least one Pac-10 team. Those years were 2003 and 2001. Each year, there was no Pac-10 team remaining after those picked for the NCAA Tournament that had won more than six conference games or had a winning overall record.
But obviously, this is one time that history didn’t repeat.

Comments | Topics: UCLA

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