The Louisville Cardinals kick off their NIT run Tuesday night, but the players might not have any desire to play in college basketball’s less exciting tournament. According to the Courier-Journal, players were “emotionally exhausted” from the program’s tumultuous season which featured an escort scandal investigation and September’s firing of head coach Rick Pitino.
Louisville will still play in the NIT, however, as school administrators still accepted a potential invitation before Louisville’s NCAA fate was known. Interim athletic director Vince Tyra told ESPN last Wednesday that the school told the NIT they’d take a bid, and while the quick turnaround between Selection Sunday and the start of the NIT makes pulling out of the NIT tricky, players held their vote weeks ago:
The sources, who have knowledge of the players’ wishes but were not authorized to speak publicly about them, told Courier Journal the players voted on the NIT before the ACC Tournament and then held a players-only meeting Sunday night after they were left out of the NCAA tournament. It was not known what was discussed at Sunday’s meeting.
The second-seeded Cardinals will play against Northern Kentucky tomorrow night, maybe the last twist in a season from hell.