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Scott G Winterton, KSL

What about the NIT? Here's where Utah's other teams will play in the postseason

By Sean Walker, KSL.com | Posted - Mar 17th, 2019 @ 7:28pm



This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah State will make its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2011 when it opens against Washington in Columbus, Ohio.

You already know that.

But what about the other five Division I teams in the state of Utah?

Here’s how the final Sunday before the Big Dance shook out across the Wasatch Front.

BYU

For the first time in the Dave Rose era, the Cougars will not participate in a postseason tournament.

BYU, which was one of the first teams to miss the cutoff in the final NIT projection by noted bracketologist John Templon, ended the season with an 80-57 loss to San Diego in the West Coast Conference tournament.

"The primary focus of the BYU basketball programs is to qualify for the NCAA Tournament, or as a secondary option, the National Invitation Tournament," BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said in a statement Sunday night. "With that in mind, we have determined that our men's basketball team will not participate in the other postseason events this year."

That win likely earned USD a spot in the NIT, and possibly at the expense of both BYU and San Francisco, which finished in the WCC's top four during the regular season — but both lost in the conference tournament semifinals.

BYU was 2-6 against teams selected to the NCAA Tournament field. But the Cougars will finish the season with a 19-13 record, snapping a run of 20-plus win seasons that dated back to 2004-05 — the year before Dave Rose was named head coach.

In that season, the Cougars finished 9-21 and finished with the firing of Steve Cleveland.

The Cougars played in the NIT for the past three seasons, and have no made the NCAA Tournament since 2014-15, when they lost in the First Four.

UNC Greensboro, Alabama, TCU and Indiana are top seeds in the NIT bracket. Those seeds are predetermined as the NCAA Tournament’s official "First Four Out."

Utah Utes forward Timmy Allen (20) and teammates leave the court after their loss to the Oregon Ducks in a Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinal game at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Thursday, March 14, 2019. (Photo: Spenser Heaps, KSL)

Utah

The Runnin' Utes ended the season with a 66-54 loss to Oregon in the Pac 12 tournament. Head coach Larry Krystkowiak told the media after that game that Utah will not seek a tournament berth outside the NCAA or NIT.

It’s the first time BYU and Utah did not play in a postseason tournament since the 1988-89 year. The Utes finished 16-17 in the final year of coach Lynn Archibald, while the Cougars were 14-15 in a season that preceded the resignation of LaDell Andersen.

Utah hired Rick Majerus the following season, while BYU brought in Roger Reid — two moves that proved beneficial for both programs.

Utah Valley

UVU will continue its season in the College Basketball Invitational.

The Wolverines will host CSU Northridge at 7 p.m. MDT Tuesday.

The Wolverines set a program record with 24 wins in 2018-19, dropping to 24-9 after a 78-74 loss to Grand Canyon in the Western Athletic Conference tournament semifinals. But UVU boasted WAC player of the year Jake Toolson and freshman of the year Wyatt Lowell, in addition to a high-scoring roster that includes Conner Toolson.

Wyatt Lowell makes a three for Utah Valley men's basketball against UM Kansas City during a WAC Tournament game, Thursday, March 14, 2019 at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. (Courtesy: Western Athletic Conference)

Southern Utah

SUU accepted a bid to the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, with a guarantee of hosting at least one game in Cedar City.

The Thunderbirds have only made one other postseason appearance in the program’s 31-year history, and haven’t been back since the NCAA Tournament in 2001.

But SUU is coming off its best season since joining the Big Sky, finishing in the conference tournament semifinals for the second-straight year and finishing 16-16 overall.

"We are thrilled to accept this postseason invitation," SUU coach Todd Simon said in a statement. "This milestone accomplishment is a tribute to the hard work of our players, staff and administration. We look forward to making a run in the CIT and continuing to progress our program to a championship level."

Weber State

The Wildcats finished the season with an 18-15 record, including an 11-9 mark in Big Sky play and a 78-49 loss to top-seeded Montana in the semifinals of the Big Sky tournament.

Weber State was not in the full field brackets as announced by the NCAA, NIT, CBI or CIT tournaments.

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