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North Carolina's 79-68 loss to Dayton marked the end of a tumultuous season that saw UNC - last year's NCAA champion - fall from No. 6 in The Associated Press poll to the NIT bubble.

After staying on the court with his team to watch Dayton accept the National Invitation Tournament trophy, North Carolina point guard Larry Drew II walked to the locker room with tears starting to well.

Point guard Larry Drew II on Wednesday once again tried to quash persistent rumors that he plans to transfer during the offseason.

An improved North Carolina team faces Dayton in the NIT final tonight. Roy Williams said of his team, "I do believe we are playing much harder, the intensity is there, the concentration is there."

Rhode Island tripped on its chances to advance to the NIT championship game on Tuesday night. But then again, North Carolina -- who will instead play Dayton on Thursday -- gave it some help.

The NIT could probably make some extra cash selling its official T-shirt - the one with bracket on the back - to UNC's league foes.

North Carolina wanted to extend its season for one more game. To do so, it had to extend it another five minutes, first.

Player to watch: Rhode Island sixth man Akeem Richmond was a ball boy during the Tar Heels' 2005 championship season.

Joey Rodriguez scored 14 straight points during a decisive second-half surge to lead Virginia Commonwealth past Saint Louis 68-56 on Monday night in the first game of the championship series of the College Basketball Invitational.

Heading into the National Invitation Tournament, North Carolina point guard Larry Drew II couldn't help but hear, read and sense the criticism: Not fast enough. Poor leader. Bad shooter. Can't get it done in the clutch.

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