Herald Sports Editor Jonathan Lintner is reporting from Hot Springs, Ark., that Western officials have told the media that the Hilltoppers will not accept a postseason bid to any tournament but the National Invitation Tournament.
The meaning of this – between the lines – is that Western will not accept a berth to the College Basketball Invitational, which was created in 2007 to include 16 teams not chosen for the NCAA Tournament or the NIT.
It’s basically a lock that the Toppers won’t return to the NCAA Tournament for a third straight year, and they appear to be firmly on the NIT bubble at 21-13.
The winner of the Sun Belt final Tuesday – whether it be Troy or Denver/North Texas – will obviously gain a berth in the NCAA Tournament, and Troy is guaranteed an automatic bid to the NIT by winning the regular season Sun Belt championship.
Thirty-two teams are selected for the NIT. The field will be officially announced next Sunday night.