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USC left on the outside looking in for the NCAA Tournament. Accepts NIT bid as No. 1 seed

The selection committee left USC out of the field of 68 for the 2018 NCAA Tournament Sunday afternoon. The Trojans will host UNC Asheville in the first round of the NIT.

NCAA Basketball: Pac-12 Conference Tournament-Arizona vs Southern California Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

68 teams were announced and seeded for the 2018 NCAA Tournament. The USC Trojans were not one of the teams named to the NCAA Tournament.

USC finished the regular season in second place and made it to the Pac-12 Tournament final where they were defeated by Arizona, However it wasn’t enough in the committee’s eyes to earn them a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Throughout the week USC hung around the bubble, however they were the last 4 into the NCAA Tournament with Jerry Palm from CBS Sports being the only one who had the Trojans out. Some will point to USC’s lack of quality wins against tournament teams being a determining factor where teams like Arizona State had quality wins early in the season, despite the Sun Devils struggling down the stretch, finishing ninth in the Pac-12, and being bounced in the opening round of the Pac-12 Tournament. USC is also the highest RPI rated team in the 68 team era to be left out of the NCAA Tournament. The Trojans had an RPI of 33 which was higher than the teams who were the last four in.

While the Trojans won’t be dancing in the NCAA Tournament, they will be competing in the postseason. USC accepted an invite to play in the NIT and will be a 1 seed in the tournament. They will open play at the Galen Center against UNC Asheville on Tuesday, March 13th. This will be USC’s 5th appearance in the NIT and their first since 1999 where they were bounced out of the first round by Wyoming. The Trojans are 2-4 in the NIT Postseason tournament. USC players will look to make a strong point in the NIT Tournament and possibly looking to send a message to the selection committee.