The ACC got five teams in the 68-team NCAA Tournament field, but none of them will be in Greensboro this week when region play begins at the Greensboro Coliseum on Friday.
North Carolina, the NCAA runner-ups to Kansas last season, did not make it into the 68-team field. The Tar Heels, who lost in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament to Virginia to finish 23-10, are the first team since the field expanded in 1985 to be ranked preseason No. 1 but miss the NCAA Tournament.
Wake Forest, which had held out hope of making the NIT, was not included in the field which was released late Sunday night. So its season comes to an end and Coach Steve Forbes finishes his third season with a 19-14 overall record.
It’s the first time the Tar Heels won’t be in the NCAA Tournament since the 2009-10 season. The Tar Heels lost to Kansas in last season’s championship game and returned four starters.
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Coach Hubert Davis of the Tar Heels said Sunday night that they will not play in the NIT.
“All season, our focus and goal have been on being the best team we can possibly become and reaching our full potential to give us another opportunity to compete, play for and win an NCAA championship,” Davis said on UNC’s website. “Although we no longer have that opportunity and this season wasn’t what we had hoped for, I want to thank our players and staff for their hard work and love for Carolina basketball.”
Davis said it’s time to look ahead to next season.
“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,” he said.
Duke, the ACC Tournament champions, have won nine games in a row and are the fifth-seed in the East and will take on 12th seed Oral Roberts in Orlando, Florida on Thursday night at 7 p.m. on CBS.
There was some optimism that the Blue Devils would be placed in the Greensboro pod but that didn’t happen.
Jon Scheyer, who became the first head coach to win an ACC championship as a player and a head coach, comes into the tournament on a roll. He’s just the third rookie head coach to win the ACC championship in his first season.
Also in the field from the ACC is N.C. State, which is the 11th seed in the South and will play sixth-seeded Creighton on Friday in Denver at 4 p.m. The Wolfpack lost to Clemson 80-54 in the ACC quarterfinals but the Tigers were left out of the NCAA’s.
The Wolfpack is in the tournament for the first time since 2018.
The Tigers finished 23-10 overall and 14-6 in the ACC, which tied for third with Duke and Pittsburgh. That wasn’t good enough for the Tigers to make it into the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers also went 4-0 against the Wolfpack and the Panthers in the regular-season. The Tigers did make the NIT and will play Morehead State.
Also from the ACC, Miami is the fifth seed in the West and will take on 12th-seeded Drake on Friday.
Virginia, which lost to Duke in the ACC championship game on Saturday night, is the fourth seed in the South and will take on 13th-seeded Furman on Thursday.
Pittsburgh and ACC Coach of the Year Jeff Capel did just enough to get an invite and will play on Tuesday in Dayton, Ohio at 9 p.m. in a first-round game against Mississippi State. If the Panthers win they would advance to Greensboro to play Friday against sixth-seeded Iowa State.
Also from the state of North Carolina, UNC Asheville, the regular-season and tournament champions from the Big South, are the 15th seed in the West and will play second-seeded UCLA on Thursday in Sacramento.