The CIT comes to a conclusion tonight at 8:00 PM Eastern as the East Carolina Pirates travel to Ogden, Utah to take on the Weber State Wildcats in the championship game. The game will be televised live on CBS Sports Network.
East Carolina finished tied for fourth in Conference USA this season, and was 18-12 after Tulsa knocked them out in the CUSA quarterfinals. They pulled out a 1 point come from behind victory over Savannah State in the CIT first round before cruising through to the finals, beating Rider by 21, Loyola by 11, and Evansville by 13. Their top players this tournament have been Maurice Kemp and Robert Sampson, with Kemp being the team’s top scoring threats, having posted at least 20 points in eight straight games.
Weber State finished one game behind Montana in the Big Sky standings, and fell to the Grizzlies in the Big Sky title game, sending them to the CIT. They entered this tournament with 26 wins, and now stand at an eye-popping 30-6 entering tonight’s championship game. The Wildcats cruised through the first three rounds of the CIT, beating Cal Poly by 42, Air Force by 21, and Oral Roberts by 9. Their semifinal against Northern Iowa proved to be the great game that was predicted, with Weber State able to pull out a 59-56 victory in a game that came right down to the wire. Weber State has a balanced scoring attack and leads the nation in field goal shooting percentage. They showed just how complete of a team they are in their semifinal win over UNI when they were held to just 39% shooting but still found a way to pull out the victory.
Tonight’s winner will be the first of four Division I Men’s Basketball championships awarded this season, with the CBI title to be decided either Wednesday or Friday, the NIT champion to be crowned on Thursday, and the National Championship to be decided next Monday night. However, the CIT title game does mark the end of our featured Small Conference games this season. Don’t worry though — the start of the 2013-14 season is less than seven months away!