Silas Walker, Deseret News
Utah Utes head coach Larry Krystkowiak shouts to his players during the final minuets of the game against the UCLA Bruins at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 9, 2019.

LAS VEGAS — After Utah’s 66-54 loss to Oregon in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals on Thursday, the Utes (17-14) held slim hopes of earning a National Invitation Tournament berth. A year ago they reached the finals at Madison Square Garden — dropping an 82-66 decision to Penn State.

“I hope, somehow, we can continue to still play,” senior Parker Van Dyke said in the locker room at T-Mobile Arena. “I would love to continue to play.”

Van Dyke then expressed gratitude for his coaches, teammates and the university for the opportunities he’s had.

“I’m sad that it ended the way it did if it is over,” he said. “I wish I would have played better. I wish we would have came out on top and got a couple more wins. But at the end of the day, when I look back on my career, I’ll be forever grateful for the people I met and for the opportunity I was able to have to play here."

Sedrick Barefield, who is also a senior, also hoped that his career with the Utes would be extended. If not, he noted making lifelong friends and having unforgettable experiences at the U.

“I know that I have a family up there in Salt Lake City forever,” Barefield said. “So for that, I’m eternally grateful.”

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Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak told reporters in Las Vegas that the Utes wouldn't play in the CBI or CIT. As for the NIT, he said they “would love a crack at getting back to it.” However, he added that “at this point it’s not really in our control."

And of Sunday, Utah was left on the outside looking in after back-to-back years in the NIT and five consecutive journeys beyond conference play. Colorado wound up being the only Pac-12 team in the 32-team NIT field. Arizona State, Oregon and Washington are representing the conference in the NCAA Tournament.