After not reaching their stated goal of the NCAA Tournament, the Idaho Vandals decided not to pursue a bid in one of the lower-tier postseason men’s basketball tournaments.
The Vandals, the preseason pick to win the Big Sky Conference, were a No. 2 seed to the conference tournament, but were upset by No. 10 seed Southern Utah in the quarterfinals.
Idaho finished 22-9.
“We’ve had great experiences competing in the CBI and the CIT the last two seasons, and those are great tournaments,” Idaho coach Don Verlin said in a news release. “They’re especially great for young programs. After talking with our seniors, we decided to not pursue a postseason tournament this year.”
Idaho had seven seniors, including former North Idaho College standout Brayon (B.J.) Blake, who played the last two seasons for the Vandals. Six of those seniors were part of Idaho’s eight-man rotation.
Officials from both the CBI and CIT made “early inquiries” to the Vandals to gauge their interest, but were told Idaho was thinking only of the NCAA tourney, Idaho spokesperson Joe St. Pierre said. After the Vandals’ loss to Southern Utah on Thursday, they made it official, opting not to pursue a bid in either the CBI or NIT, in effect pulling their name from consideration before an actual “invitation” came out.
Idaho last reached the NCAA Tournament in 1990.
Idaho’s senior class helped the Vandals win 62 games over the last three seasons, the fifth most wins over a three-year stretch in team history.
Idaho will return two rotation players in Nate Sherwood and Trevon Allen, as well as a handful of guys who saw limited minutes throughout the season, along with three redshirts. Idaho’s recruiting class is currently comprised of two junior college transfers and one incoming freshman.
Under Verlin, in his 10th season, Idaho has earned spots in postseason tournaments five times (4 CIT, 1 CBI), after previously not advancing to the postseason since that NCAA bid in ‘90.