A spirited run in the Atlantic 10 tournament wasn’t enough to sway the NCAA Tournament committee in their decision to leave the University of Massachusetts out of the field of 68 teams Sunday.
The Minutemen instead are headed back to the 32-team National Invitation Tournament, where they lost in the semifinals last March. As the No. 2 seed in the Virginia bracket, UMass hosts America East regular-season champion Stony Brook on Wednesday night.
UMass went 21-11 in the regular season, including a 1-point win over conference rival La Salle, which received an at-large bid to the Big Dance. But the Minutemen also scuffled to a 9-7 record (sixth place) in A-10 play, including a three-game skid in February that included a 99-94 road loss to sub-.500 St. Bonaventure.
Firmly on the NCAA bubble, UMass opened the conference tournament in New York with 5-point wins over George Washington and Temple before having its stay ended by Virginia Commonwealth (71-62) Saturday.
Northeastern (20-12) earned an NIT bid by winning the Colonial Athletic Association regular-season title. The Huskies are the No. 8 seed in the Alabama bracket and visit the Crimson Tide (21-12) on Tuesday night. Providence also is in the NIT, as the fourth seed in the Kentucky bracket. The Friars (17-14), who finished eighth in the Big East, host Charlotte (21-11) on Wednesday night.
Vermont (21-11) and Bryant (19-11) were selected to the College Basketball Invitational tournament. Boston University (17-12), Fairfield (19-15) and Hartford (17-13) will participate in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.