WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - UNCW Press Release
WILMINGTON, North Carolina – UNCW's surprising turnaround season in men's basketball was extended late Sunday when the Seahawks accepted an invitation to play in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament with a Wednesday night (March 18, 2015) game at Sam Houston State.
The Seahawks, 18-13, return to the postseason for the first time since 2006 when they battle the 25-8 Bearkats in a 7:30 p.m. contest at Bernard C. Johnson Coliseum in Huntsville, Texas. It marks the seventh postseason appearance for the Seahawks following NCAA berths in 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2006, and National Invitation Tournament bids in 1998 and 2001.
"The CIT is a very good tournament and I'm excited for the whole team, and especially the seniors for receiving this opportunity," said first-year UNCW Head Coach Kevin Keatts, the 2015 CAA Coach-of-the-Year. "These guys have certainly had a great year and earned the right to play in the postseason.
"Sam Houston State played a very challenging schedule and reached the championship game of the Southland Conference Tournament. We will start focusing on their team tonight."
It will be UNCW's first appearance in the CIT, a 32-team event that made its debut in 2009. The Seahawks were picked to finish ninth in the 10-team Colonial Athletic Association in 2014-15, but staged an impressive run to the regular season title before bowing out in the semifinals of the league's tournament to eventual champion Northeastern in Baltimore.
The Bearkats, led by fifth-year head coach Jason Hooten, lost to rival Stephen F. Austin in the championship game of the Southland Conference Tournament for the second straight year in an 83-70 defeat Saturday at the Merrell Center in Katy, Texas.
The CIT features non-BCS programs not selected to participate in the NCAA or NIT. All games are played on campus sites. In an effort to minimize travel and limit missed time, the CIT uses the old NIT model, with future round opponents determined by results of the previous round.
The second round of the CIT will be played March 20-21, followed by the quarterfinals on March 24-25. The March 31 semifinals and April 2 championship game will be televised CBS Sports Network.
The Seahawks are meeting the Bearkats for the first time. UNCW does have one basketball connection with Sam Houston – former Seahawk head coach Robert McPherson (1987-90) served as head coach of the Bearkats from 1982-86, compiling a 102-47 record, before moving to the North Carolina coast for four seasons.
CAA teams have appeared in the CIT six times and amassed an 11-5 record. James Madison will join UNCW this year, traveling to USC-Upstate on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. game against the Spartans.