Two of the spots in the NCAA Final Four will be determined today. However, those are not the only two Division I men’s basketball games on the schedule. In addition to the two Regional Finals, the CIT semifinals will be played today to determine the teams that will meet Tuesday night in the championship game. Today’s schedule (all times Eastern) is:
Evansville (21-14) @ East Carolina (21-12) 5:00 pm
Weber State (29-6) @ Northern Iowa (21-14) 8:00 pm
Both games will be streamed live at watchcollegeinsider.com.
While the first game on the slate presents an interesting match-up of teams that had somewhat mediocre regular seasons before putting together a run to this round of the CIT, it is the later of the two games that is clearly our featured game of the day. Weber State and Northern Iowa were, on paper, probably the two favorites to take the CIT title this season, anf the winner will clearly be the favorite to cut down the nets as champion.
Weber State sits at 29 wins on the season and has a chance to reach the elite level of 30 victories tonight. They were clearly the second best team in the Big Sky this season behind Montana, and but for a bad loss in conference play to Montana State, might have had a chance to host the conference tournament which could have resulted in a different NCAA tournament representative out of the Big Sky.
Northern Iowa was solid all season in the Missouri Valley Conference, picking up a win over Wichita State on the way and playing at times like a potential NCAA tournament team. They have already eliminated conference-mate Bradley, Illinois-Chicago and North Dakota in this tournament, all by fairly easy margins. However, Weber State has been even more decisive in their CIT victories, including a 42 point blowout of Cal Poly in the first round. While tonight’s game is far from the most important college basketball game to be played today, it may very well end up being the most exciting.
The quarterfinal round of the CIT comes to a close tonight when Oral Roberts travels to Weber State for a 9:00 PM Eastern game (live streaming at watchcollegeinsider.com). The winner of tonight’s game will play Saturday at Northern Iowa for the right to advance to the championship game.
On February 23 of this year, ESPN’s final BracketBusters event occurred. While 13 games were chosen for coverage on the ESPN networks, well over 30 additional games were played. As we noted back then, the most intriguing game that did not get ESPN coverage was Weber State, who at the time sat in second place in the Big Sky, traveling to Oral Roberts, who was in second place in the Southland. Tonight, the two teams will have a rematch, this time in Ogden, Utah. The first meeting between the two teams was won by Weber State, 70-66. Kyle Tresnak led the way for the Wildcats in that game, scoring 20 points.
Oral Roberts enters tonight’s game with a 20-14 record. They have a trio of all-conference players, led by Damen Bell-Holter. However, they are going up a team that, but for a 3 point loss to Montana in the Big Sky conference championship game, may have gone down as Weber State’s best team ever. Weber State currently sits at 28-6 overall on the season, a win total that is already both a school and Big Sky record for victories in a single season. In addition, senior Scott Bamforth set the school record during their win last round over Air Force with 247 career three-pointers. The record he broke was the one set the by Damian Lillard, now a rookie star for the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers. The Wildcats will attempt to capture their 29th victory tonight…and hope to then extend that to 30 and 31, which would capture this year’s CIT championship.
The CIT moves on to the quarterfinal round tonight, with three games on the schedule. Tonight’s schedule is as follows (all times are Eastern and all games are streamed live at watchcollegeinsider.com):
Loyola MD (23-11) @ East Carolina (20-12) 7:00 pm
Evansville (20-14) @ Canisius (20-13) 7:00 pm
Bradley (18-16) @ Northern Iowa (20-14) 8:00 pm
The featured game this evening is the final game on the list, Bradley’s second trip of the season and third game this year against Missouri Valley Conference mate Northern Iowa. These two teams met at UNI back on January 12, with the Panthers cruising to an 83-54 victory. The game was a lot closer when the Braves hosted on February 10, but UNI pulled out a 68-65 win to sweep the regular season series. However, tonight’s game is the most important of the year for these two teams as the winner will advance to the semifinals of the CIT and have the chance to hang a postseason tournament championship banner.
Bradley enters tonight’s game at 18-16 overall. They beat Green Bay in the first round and Tulane in the second round of the CIT to advance to the quarterfinals. Northern Iowa, on the other hand, enters with a record of 20-14. Their two CIT victories so far were over North Dakota and Illinois-Chicago. At one point this season, UNI seemed to be on course to challenge for an NCAA tournament berth, especially after defeating Wichita State. However, a few late season losses and then being knocked out of the MVC tournament in the quarterfinals by Illinois State sent UNI to the CIT instead. This team is talented enough to continue winning and, at this point, appears to be one of the favorites to cut down the nets next week. However, first they must do one of the most difficult things for a college basketball team to do — beat the same team three times in one season.
The final second round game of the CIT is on tap for tonight as the UC-Irvine Anteaters travel to Oral Roberts to take on the Golden Eagles (8:00 PM Eastern, watchcollegeinsider.com). Oral Roberts enters tonight’s game at 19-14 overall coming off of their first round victory over Texas-Arlington. A win tonight would give the Golden Eagles their sixth 20 win season under head coach Scott Sutton since he took over the program’s reigns in 2004-05. ORU is led by a trio of all-conference performers, Damen Bell-Holter, Warren Niles and Shawn Glover. Bell-Holter led the Southland Conference in both scoring and rebounding during league play this season and is a force to be reckoned with on both ends of the court.
UC-Irvine comes into tonight’s game at 21-15 on the season. The defeated High Point in the first round of the CIT. The Anteaters notably knocked Big West conference regular season champion Long Beach State out of the conference tournament before losing to Pacific in the finals. This postseason appearance is the school’s first since 2002.
Tonight marks the third all-time meeting between these two schools. Oral Roberts won at UC-Irvine back in 1985, and Irvine returned the favor winning at ORU the following year. The winner of tonight’s game will advance to the CIT quarterfinals, and is scheduled to play at Weber State on Wednesday night.
With only one game on the CIT slate today, our choice for the CIT Game of the Day is pretty obvious. Kent State will be traveling to Loyola-Maryland at 3:00 PM Eastern in a Second Round matchup. Live streaming of the game is available at watchcollegeinsider.com.
Kent State finished in third place in the MAC East Division this season behind the conference’s top two teams, Akron and Ohio University. The Golden Flashes enter today’s game at 21-13 overall, including road wins this season at Akron and at Nebraska. They pulled out a 73-71 win over Fairfield in the first round of the CIT to advance to today’s game. Senior guard Randal Holt was the team’s leading scorer in that game, dropping in 18 points, including going 3 for 5 from 3-pont range.
The Loyola Greyhounds finished tied for second place in the MAAC. They enter today’s game at 22-11 overall, including wins at Albany, at Rhode Island and over Boston University in their first round game. The top two scorers for the Greyhounds both contributed 16 points in that game, junior guard Dylon Cormier and senior guard Robert Olson.
The CIT kicks back into action today with a slate of six Second Round games. Today’s schedule is as follows:
Eastern Kentucky (25-9) @ Evansville (19-14) 1:30 pm
Rider (19-14) @ East Carolina (19-12) 5:00 pm
Canisius (19-13) @ Youngstown State (18-15) 7:05 pm
Tulane (20-14) @ Bradley (17-16) 8:00 pm
Illinois-Chicago (18-15) @ Northern Iowa (19-14) 8:00
Air Force (18-13) @ Weber State (27-6) 9:00 pm
All times are Eastern and all games are streamed live at watchcollegeinsider.com.
Our featured CIT game today is the first game on the slate, Eastern Kentucky at Evansville. Eastern Kentucky was the surprise story in the Ohio Valley Conference this season, putting together a 12-4 conference record that gave them the second best record in the conference (though the tournament #3 seed due to the conference’s divisional format). They even picked up a win at Murray State during regular season play. However, the semifinals of the conference tournament saw them rematched with Murray and falling, 83-71. The Colonels did bounce back in their first round CIT game, scoring a 69-62 road win over Gardner-Webb, and currently sit at 25-9 overall.
Eastern Kentucky’s opponent today is the Purple Aces of Evansville. Evansville, following their first round win over Tennessee State, sits at 19-14 on the season. They finished 10-8 in the Missouri Valley Conference but fell 51-50 in the quarterfinals of the MVC tournament to Indiana State. They will be attempting to secure their second straight win over an Ohio Valley team this afternoon, a win which would advance the Aces to the quarterfinal round of the CIT.