Last week, buzz began to circulate that the Louisville basketball team didn’t even want to entertain the thought of playing in the NIT, and that if it came down to it, they’d just as soon not participate in the event.
Now we know that the team held onto that collective thought after they found out for certain that their season would not end in the NCAA Tournament.
Louisville basketball players voted against playing in the NIT but school administrators still accepted an invitation to play in the event, multiple sources with knowledge of the players’ decision told Courier Journal.
Louisville’s players are emotionally exhausted from a trying, tumultuous six months that culminated with the devastation of not being included in the NCAA Tournament in Sunday’s bracket reveal. The Cardinals were instead selected for the NIT, and tip off is at 7 p.m. Tuesday against Northern Kentucky at the KFC Yum Center.
The sources, who have knowledge of the players’ wishes but were not authorized to speak publicly about them, told Courier Journal the players voted on the NIT before the ACC Tournament and then held a players-only meeting Sunday night after they were left out of the NCAA tournament. It was not known what was discussed at Sunday’s meeting.
The problem is that it isn’t this simple.
Because there’s such a short turnaround between Selection Sunday and the start of the NIT, programs who wish to decline a bid to the NIT (like LSU two years ago) have to let the event know well in advance that they should not be considered for selection. U of L interim athletic director Vince Tyra told ESPN Louisville last week that Louisville had already filled out the paperwork to accept an NIT bid if one was offered.
So basically, the Louisville basketball team will play a game tomorrow night against Northern Kentucky that none of them want to participate in. Should go well.
I hope Anas takes five threes.