It was the first time that Northwestern was left waiting on Selection Sunday, but this year's team was handed the same result as each squad from the program's past. The Wildcats were left out of the NCAA Tournament field for the 74th consecutive year.
NU players and coaches gathered for the 5 p.m. announcement. There wasn't a peep as each seed was announced. When the final spot was filled, the silence continued.
"It was pretty much quiet," NU head coach Bill Carmody told the media. "I didn't notice anything different than that the whole time."
Northwestern entered Selection Sunday with a glimmer of hope, but not much more than that. Thursday's overtime loss to Minnesota in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament crushed hopes of reaching the Big Dance.
"We're obviously -- the staff and team -- disappointed that we weren't selected," Carmody said.
NU finished the regular season with a record of 18-13, and 8-10 in Big Ten play, then lost its first-round game in the conference tournament. The Wildcats did defeat No. 1 seed Michigan State, but that was their only win over a Top-50 RPI opponent in 11 tries.
The Wildcats will host Akron in first-round action of the NIT. NU drew a four seed in the tournament. The Zips are fifth-seeded. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. on Tuesday night
Northwestern is left with heartbreak again, but Carmody hopes to finish out the season with a successful run.
"We're disappointed," he said. "But we're going to move on and see what we can do."