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Published: Monday, 3/12/2012

UT, BG invited to CIT

BY RYAN AUTULLO
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

The men’s basketball seasons are not over at University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University.

Those programs accepted invitations Sunday evening from the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament and will play opening round games this week.

UT will host Southland Conference tournament runner up McNeese State at 7 p.m. Tuesday, and BG will visit Oakland at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Veteran Oakland coach Greg Kampe is a BG graduate.

The CIT, now in its fourth season, boasts a 32-team field for the first time this season, consisting of programs from mid-major conferences. Past winners are Santa Clara (2011), Missouri State (2010), and Old Dominion (2009).

Kent State, which played in the inaugural tournament in 2009, will visit University of South Carolina Upstate on Thursday.

The Rockets (18-16), whose 14-game turnaround from last year is tied for second in the nation, will make their first postseason appearance since an National Invitational Tournament loss to Florida State in 2006-07. They’ll play a McNeese State team that was missing two of its key players in a 70-49 loss to Lamar in Saturday’s Southland Conference championship game. The Cowboys are 17-15 overall and 6-10 on the road.

UT fell to eventual MAC champion Ohio, 65-57, in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament Thursday at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

“We’re extremely excited to be selected to participate in postseason play, and it’s a great reward for the hard work by everyone in our program this season,” UT coach Tod Kowalczyk said in a statement. “I also think this is something that can help us build momentum for next season as we continue to grow our program.”

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday and can be purchased for $10 or $14 at the ticket office at Savage Arena, or by calling 419-530-4653. Season ticket holders have until 4 p.m. Monday to pick up their tickets. Students are admitted free as a courtesy of the UT president’s office.

BG (16-15) will be making its first postseason appearance since 2008-09 when it fell to Creighton, 73-71, in the first round of the NIT. The Falcons last postseason win came in the National Commissioner’s Invitational in 1975.

“We are very thankful and excited for the opportunity to play in the CIT Postseason Tournament,” BG coach Louis Orr said in a statement. “We are opening up against a quality team in Oakland that has experience playing in the postseason. I have a great deal of respect for coach Greg Kampe and his program.”

Oakland’s hopes of making it to the NCAA tournament for a third straight year vanished when it blew an 11-point lead with three minutes to go in an 84-82 loss to Southern Utah in the opening round of the Summit League tournament.

The Golden Grizzles (17-15) dropped non-conference home games in December to MAC members Ohio (84-82) and Western Michigan (91-76).

Oakland is led by the nation’s leading scorer Reggie Hamilton. The 5-foot-11 senior guard is averaging 25.7 points and is sixth in the nation with 3.3 3-pointers per game.

Kampe, a 1978 BG graduate, is 487-348 in 28 seasons at Oakland. He was a UT assistant from 1978 to 1984.

Blade sports writer John Wagner contributed to this report

Contact Ryan Autullo at: rautullo@theblade.com, 419-724-6160 or on Twitter @RyanAutullo.



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