That is according to a Washington Post report which profiles UCLA, UNC and other schools are are experience March blues this season (emphasis added):
The Tar Heels have become the powder-blue poster child for underachieving teams. One season after winning its fifth national championship, some regression was expected after losing Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington, all first-round NBA draft picks. But the Tar Heels (14-14, 3-10 ACC) have lost seven of eight games entering Saturday's matchup at Wake Forest. Injuries, most notably to forward Ed Davis, inconsistent guard play and an apparent crisis of confidence have derailed the season.
Much like North Carolina, UCLA has also found life difficult after losing talented underclassmen, chief among them Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook, to the NBA in recent years. After making three consecutive Final Four appearances between 2006 and 2008, the Bruins (13-14, 8-7 Pacific-10) opened the season 2-6 after losses to Cal State Fullerton and Portland, among others.
Regardless of the player turnover, Coach Ben Howland said the coaching staff is "ultimately responsible for building a good team. We have really struggled in that respect this year."
UCLA and North Carolina do not need .500 records to receive an NIT invitation, but teams that win their conference's regular season title and then lose in the conference tournament receive automatic invitations to the 32-team field. An eight-member committee then attempts to put the strongest possible field together.
So is the hgh lighted part correct because I was under the impression that a team at least needs a winning record to get into the NIT. BTW the article also focuses on UConn, Louisville and Arizona. I am guessing the former two will finish strong and get into the dance.
Anyway, if both Bruins and Tarheels are in the NIT, that is going to be very interesting to see what Howland prepares his team. Will he go into that tournament by being aggressive and playing with no fear by not being afraid to depend on his youngsters, or is he going to stick with the safe "not to lose" mindset by depending on scrubs like Ragovic? Honestly, if we go into NIT and have a team that plays its hearts out with solid mins for kids like Lane, Morgan, and Moser, it could be fun. It will be more fun than watching a meaningless Big Dance without our four letters in it (at least for yours truly).