Vandals Selected To CIT Field

It's not over yet. The Vandals, completing their best season in a decade and finishing No.3 in the Western Athletic Conference, have been invited to play in the inaugural Postseason Tournament. The Vandals (16-15) will open the tournament THIS WEDNESDAY at home in Memorial Gym, hosting Drake University (17-15) of the Missouri Valley Conference. Tipoff is at 7:05pm PST.

The following is a press release provided by the University of Idaho Sports Information Department.

MOSCOW, Idaho – The best season in 10 years is not yet over for the University of Idaho men's basketball team.

In what Idaho coach Don Verlin called a "huge day for Vandal basketball," Idaho was selected Sunday for participation in the inaugural Postseason Tournament (CIT).

"I can't express how excited I am for the players, coaches, and, most importantly, the fans who have waited 19 long years for a postseason game," Verlin said. "To be one of the handful of NCAA Division I basketball teams with the opportunity to continue its season is unbelievable. This is a great day to be a Vandal.

"The opportunity to play in a postseason tournament will give our program great experience for what will hopefully be a long run of postseason participation," Verlin said.

The Vandals, who earned their best record since the 1998-99 season at 16-15 overall, will host the Drake University Bulldogs of the Missouri Valley Conference Wednesday (March 18) at 7:05 p.m. The game will be played at Memorial Gym as the Cowan Spectrum has been removed in preparation for the Kibbie Dome renovation project.

"This is a huge accomplishment for our men's basketball program," Idaho Director of Athletics Dr. Rob Spear said. "This selection for postseason play is a well deserved honor based on the fantastic season for our team. All of the credit goes to coach Verlin and the players for their hard work and dedication to turning the program around. The exposure will not only promote the University of Idaho, but also will help continue to move our basketball program forward."

Tickets will go on sale Monday through the University of Idaho ticket office (1-88-88-UIDAHO) and are $10 for general admission.

"First and foremost, this is big for our program," Idaho senior Terrence Simmons said. "It goes a long way to show how hard we worked this season and the character of the guys in the locker room. We definitely deserve to be playing in the postseason after the season we had. On a personal level, words can't explain how excited and happy I am. A few days ago we were all sad in the locker room because we had just lost. Having another chance to play, especially as a senior, is like a rebirth."

The Vandals earned a third-place finish in the Western Athletic Conference with a 9-7 conference record. It was the highest conference finish for the Vandals since the 1998-99 team finished third in the Big Sky. Idaho's 16 wins are the most in a season since the 1998-99 team finished 16-11 and the Vandals cannot finish below .500 for the first time in 10 years. Idaho won six of its last seven regular season games and is 12-3 at home this season.

Idaho has not participated in a postseason tournament since an NCAA Tournament berth in 1990. The Vandals were defeated in the opening round by Louisville at Salt Lake City, 78-59.

The CIT is a single-elimination tournament, consisting of four rounds, with the first three rounds being played at on-campus sites, which will be determined by seeding. The inaugural championship game will be played at an on-campus site to be determined by seeding.

"We are thankful to the for recognizing the success Idaho basketball has earned this season by affording us the opportunity to participate in their inaugural tournament," Verlin said.

CIT First Round Contests

Tuesday March 17
Rider (19-12) @ Liberty (22-11)
Kent State (19-14) @ Oakland (22-12)

Wednesday March 18
The Citadel (20-12) @ Old Dominion (21-10)
Mount St. Mary's (19-13) @ James Madison (19-14)
Austin Peay (19-13) @ Bradley (18-14)
Belmont (19-12) @ Evansville (17-13)
Portland (19-12) @ Pacific (19-11)
Drake (17-15) @ Idaho (16-15)

· Quarterfinal games will be played on Monday, March 23.

· Semifinal games will be played on Wednesday, March 25.

· Championship game played on Tuesday, March 31.

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