There were a lot of defining (read: damning) moments in our UCLA Men’s Basketball squad’s 2011-12 campaign. The season was largely disappointing with the end result being that we did not get into the NCAA tournament, instead seeing fellow Pac-12′ers Cal and Colorado make it.
After the loss to Arizona to end our season, many Bruins turned to a whole new debate: Should UCLA accept an invitation to the NIT?
I won’t even bother you with both sides of the argument for and against playing in the NIT, because the point is now moot — UCLA was not invited to the NIT.
Now, to be sure, no one is hurting as a result of getting snubbed by the NIT, which is seen as a second-tier tournament that “March Madness rejects” play in as a consolation prize. I don’t really care for the stigma attached to NIT teams, although to an extent, the perception of the NIT is true.
Which is why, somehow, UCLA not getting into the NIT hurts.
Somehow, with our 19-14 overall record (and 11-7 in-conference record), we saw this coming. With an RPI rank of 127, it’s hard to imagine why the NIT would select us.
It’s disheartening and upsetting, but perhaps this season might serve as motivation for the next. The Pac-12 was a terrible conference this season and was about as close to a one-bid team that a major conference can get. You figure that the Pac-12 would get marginally better next year, but who knows? I sure don’t.
My mind will be focusing on next year and recruiting in the offseason with all-world talent considering UCLA as their college of choice, including consensus No. 1 recruit Shabazz Muhammad.
Now excuse me, while I wipe the rain off my face.