By Harry Allison

Spurned by the NCAA for the fourth straight year, Georgetown earned a No. 3 seed in the National Invitation Tournament and play No. 6 Harvard in the first round at 7 p.m. at McDonough Arena Wednesday on ESPN2.

The Hoyas (19-13, 9-9 Big East) were tied for third in their conference after the regular season, but their fate likely was sealed once they lost their first game in last week’s Big East Tournament to Seton Hall.

This season, in Patrick Ewing’s second year as coach, showed marked improvement. Georgetown upset the Big East’s two best teams, Villanova and Marquette, during the regular season. The first-year trio of James Akinjo, Mac McClung and Josh LeBlanc made the Big East All-Freshman Team, with Akinjo winning Big East Freshman of the Year.

But for a program that was a national power in the 1980s and a tournament regular for years after that, missing its fourth straight “Big Dance” will leave a sour taste behind. The Hoyas have not missed four consecutive national tournaments since 1971-1974.

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