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Posts Tagged ‘March.’

North Carolina making most of NIT opportunity, advances to title game

compiled by megasportsnews.com staff

During the months of March and April, the University of North Carolina men’s basketball team is used to to playing in the NCAA tournament. This year the NIT had to do. But basketball madness is still alive in any tournament even if its not the one you’re used to being in or want to be in.

Injuries, inconsistent play and inexperience combined to doom the Tar Heels’ season early on and they never recovered until the NCAA tournament had passed them by.

Roy Williams Tar Heels coach (UNC)

Then they were selected to play in the NIT, which to some people is known as “the also-rans” tournament. But North Carolina seized the opportunity and went on the road to defeat Mississippi State and Alabama-Birmingham before defeating Rhode Island last night at Madison Square Garden in the semifinals, 68-67 in overtime.

Rhode Island was no “also-ran” team because they had the best RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) of any program that failed to make the NCAA tournament.

Deon Thompson had 16 points and 13 rebounds for North Carolina, which had possession with about 5 seconds left in overtime and the shot clock about to expire when Larry Drew II forced up a shot. The rebound eventually wound up in the hands of Rhode Island’s Lamonte Ulmer, who lost control as he rushed up court moments before the horn sounded, never getting off a shot. Most everybody thought a foul would be called for tripping but it wasn’t.

North Carolina will play the Dayton Flyers for NIT title on Thursday at Madison Square Garden.