Lebo "Disappointed" By No NIT Bid

Auburn, Ala.--Jeff Lebo said after his team's disappointing opening round loss to Georgia in the SEC Basketball Men's Basketball Tournament that Auburn's chances for receiving a bid to the NIT didn't look promising.

Despite that, the coach said he was disappointed Sunday night when Auburn was not selected for the 32-team field.

Mississippi State, Alabama, Ole Miss and Georgia out of the SEC made the NIT field. Five other SEC teams were chosen for the NCAA field, including Florida as the No. 1 overall seed. Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky are also in the NCAA Tournament.

"We are disappointed," Lebo said after learning that his 17-15 team was not selected for the NIT. "We thought if they had taken four out of our league then we would have been the fourth. Obviously, we were wrong. We thought if they had taken three, we wouldn't have been in, but we thought if they took four, we would be the one."

Sophomore forward Korvotney Barber and his teammates will have to watch postseason play on television this year.

The NIT field has been reduced this year and there is a new format with a committee of former coaches selecting the teams and seeding them.

"It is tough, but the NIT is much harder to get into now because you have teams in it now that wouldn't have been in it in the past that are getting in it," Lebo said. "They are taking the regular season (conference) champions that did not win their tournament (and receive an NCAA bid) and they cut it down by eight teams already from 40 to 32.

"Now, they are taking teams that won the regular season like the Mississippi Valley States of the world wouldn't be in it in the past. It is much more difficult to get into it now."

The Auburn women's basketball team, which finished the season 19-12, is expected to receive a bid on Monday night to the WNIT event if the team isn't selected as part of the 64-team NCAA field.

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