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No NIT for the Gophers; disappointing season comes to an end

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The season is over for the Minnesota Gophers, as they were not invited to the NIT men's basketball tournament just one year after they won the title.

The team didn't live up to expectations that were heightened after last season's success under first-year coach Richard Pitino.

The Gophers (18-15, 6-12 Big Ten) were a long shot to make the 32-team NIT field after losing six of their last eight games, including a loss to Ohio State on Thursday in the Big Ten tournament's second round, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

Minnesota's record was not strong enough for an invitation to the NCAA Tournament either.

Pitino said Thursday he would turn down an invitation to the CBI (College Basketball Invitational) tournament, which is lower in prestige than the NIT.

The Gophers have failed to reach the NCAA tournament three out of the last four years. The last time they missed both NCAA and NIT was in 2011, according to the Star Tribune.

Pitino told the St. Paul Pioneer Press Thursday that the seniors on his team should be proud of their accomplishments, especially over the last few years.

Illinois was the only Big Ten team to make it to the NIT. Michigan and Penn State were also overlooked.

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