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Longhorns miss NCAA Tournament Bid, Accept invitation to play in NIT

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Feb 6, 2019; Austin, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns forward Dylan Osetkowski (21) head coach Shaka Smart guard Courtney Ramey (3) and guard Kerwin Roach II (12) celebrate a 84-72 win over Baylor Bears at Frank Erwin Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Spillman-USA TODAY Sports

The odds were slim for the Texas Longhorns (16-16, 8-10) to receive an at-large invitation to play in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.  They lost five of their last six games and finished the season with a .500 record. They also amassed a losing conference record. Despite regular season wins against North Carolina, Purdue and Kansas, the Longhorns never seemed to win with consistency. They had no momentum headed into Selection Sunday, and had no reason to think they would make the NCAA Tournament for the 19th time in 21 years.

Instead, reality manifested itself and saw Shaka Smart’s team missing the tournament for the second time in his four-year coaching tenure at Texas.

While the Longhorns will not be playing in the Big Dance, they will be playing postseason basketball.  Texas accepted an invitation to play in the National Invitational Tournament (NIT), which extends invitations to 32 teams that weren’t invited to play in the NCAA Tournament.

The Longhorns have appeared in the NIT four times (1948, 1978, 1980, 1986) and have a combined 6-3 record in NIT play.  Texas won the NIT in 1978 by defeating North Carolina State 101-93.

Texas, the #2 seed, will face South Dakota State (7 seed) on Tuesday at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin.

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Aaron Carrara is the founder and publisher of HornSports and has covered University of Texas athletics since 2011. Aaron is a member of the Football Writer's Association of America and the U.S. Basketball Writer's Association and is a proud father to three boys.

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