Canisius at NJIT, 7:30 PM Eastern, watchcollegeinsider.com
Most sports fan are well aware that two spots in the Final Four will be decided tonight as Kentucky battles Notre Dame and Wisconsin battles Arizona for spots in Indianapolis next weekend. What most people do not realize is that a third Final Four team will be decided tonight as well. That Final Four team is in the CIT as Canisius travels to Newark, New Jersey to take on NJIT for the final spot in the CIT semifinals and a matchup Tuesday night against Northern Arizona.
Canisius enters tonight’s game at 18-14 on the season, including a home win over Dartmouth and a win at Bowling Green in their first two CIT games. Jim Baron’s Golden Griffins finished the regular season strong, winning four out of five before falling in the MAAC quarterfinals to Monmouth. They are led by Zach Lewis and Josiah Heath. Lewis put up 20 points in the first round against Dartmouth while Heath scored 23 against Bowling Green.
The Golden Griffins will have their hands full tonight as they travel to what will be a packed Fleisher Center to battle our adopted team, the Team of the People, the NJIT Highlanders (20-11). NJIT’s season has certainly been magical as the nation’s lone independent scored a huge road win at Michigan and a home win over Yale during the season. They also won their first two CIT games, knocking off New Hampshire in the first round and beating Cleveland State in one of the most exciting games this season in the second round, with Ky Howard’s three with approximately 25 seconds left giving the Highlanders the win. The magical story of NJIT will try to be continued tonight as they look to become one of only a very small handful of teams playing on the final day of March.
-You know what’s great about this website?? We can give top billing to NJIT if it suits us to do so. But, in the other tournament, there are a couple of games that are at least noteworthy. Arizona and Wisconsin face off in a rematch from last year’s Elite Eight game, which was one of the most exciting in the tournament. I love that match-up because of the contrasting styles, and think that we’ll see another great game tonight.
-All year long, I’ve said that Kentucky has struggled against teams that like to play half court, (ie Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Florida and LSU). I also said that if they played a good defensive half court team like West Virginia, that I wouldn’t expect them to win. After Thursday night, I’ve decided to stop talking. Notre Dame is exactly the kind of team that, a week ago, I would have said was built to beat Kentucky. I think the Irish can win, but it would probably surprise me less if they lost by thirty than won by one.