clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

No Mas: UNC Turns Down NIT And The Reactions Are Hilarious

Bring back Matt Doherty!

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

North Carolina v Notre Dame
SOUTH BEND, INDIANA - FEBRUARY 22: Head coach Hubert Davis of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the second half at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center on February 22, 2023 in South Bend, Indiana.
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

If you somehow missed it, and that seems impossible at least locally, UNC turned down an NIT bid Sunday. This completes a spectacular fall from preseason #1 to, well, staying at home in March. The reactions have been fast and furious.

Perhaps most prominently, failed coach Tom Penders just ripped the program, and somewhat ludicrously called for fining UNC. This is what he posted on Twitter Sunday night: “ARROGANCE! UNC should get fined big bucks! The NCAA basketball committee should remember this slap in the face. The NIT started before the NCAA tournament.“

It’s a bit late for that: UNC is not the first program to turn down the NIT. In fact, Duke turned down the NIT during the Covid season. But even so, plenty of schools have opted out. UNC even has some current company as Dayton has also declined the NIT. Fine the Flyers!

In UNC’s case, you have to wonder why. Are they just sick of each other? Is it impossible to come together to win a second-tier tournament?

But as always, the most fun is the reactions, and we have linked a number of those below. However, the best reactions, as usual, are on ICMeltdown over at Twitter. ICMeltdown simply collects the most bizarre UNC posts and curates them. It’s always fun and, again, it’s a good way to remind us that Duke fans do NOT NEED TO BE LIKE THIS.

Penders trivia: depending on how you look at it, Penders either means to pull or spin or droop [verb] to (cause to) hang down. hang [verb] (often with down or out) to be bending, drooping or falling downwards. loll [verb] (of the tongue) to hang down or out. Make of that what you will.

We will say this, not exactly in support of UNC - fie on that! - but we do feel bad for Hubert Davis. He has always struck us as a decent sort of man who made an unfortunate choice when he was 18 that he has to live with for the rest of his life.

But to give the devil his due (yes that was intentional), he’s made the best of it and is getting paid handsomely to coach UNC. He inherited a rotten group that helped persuade his predecessor Roy Williams that it was time to get out.

Leaky Black is excluded from that. We have a lot of respect for Black, who has had a tough career in many respects but always kept working. That guy is a winner who is stuck with some serious losers. From the outside it seems like a group of knuckleheads that, in retrospect, no one would want to bring together because the chemistry is just awful.

Davis is not blameless of course. He didn’t choose these players, but it’s his team now and he’s the coach and the one who will get the criticism and rightly so. And for the first time really, he’s getting some seriously vicious criticism from Kentucky UNC fans, not to mention the media, as you’ll see below.

We will say again that he has recruited fairly well and soon (maybe sooner than anyone expected) he will have a team of his own guys. When that happens, judge away. But for now, we’re not even sure Mike Krzyzewski, with his immense insights into human nature and motivational talents, could have turned this steaming pile of baby blue garbage around.

Turning down the NIT, for this group, is roughly equivalent to putting down a horse with a broken leg. It’s never going to heal.