Category Archives: Tournaments

Wesner: Xavier OWNS Orlando

Photo courtesy of AP.

ORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando, Florida: known for Mickey Mouse, Universal Studios and Xavier basketball?

Orlando is more than a vacation spot for the Musketeers. It’s a place of great memories and dominant victories.  

Since November 2015, the #11 Xavier Musketeers are 8-0 with two early season tournament championships and a clinched trip to the Sweet Sixteen. In the history of neutral site games in Orange County (Florida), the program is 11-2 — good for the most wins by any Division I program.

Yet, when Xavier wins, they win BIG.

In the eleven victories, the Big East representative from Cincinnati, Ohio, triumphs by an average margin of 13.4 points. Moreover, they leave NO doubt in championship games or contests that have a trip to the Sweet Sixteen on the line. Xavier’s smallest margin of victory is 8 points with such a stratification.

Photo courtesy of CBS Sports.

Xavier junior Trevon Bluiett, who scored 29 points this evening versus #3 Florida State, loves playing in “City Beautiful.” The 6’6″ Indianapolis, Indiana, product has found a second home in Orlando and is averaging 18.5 points per game dating back to the 2015 Advocare Invitational. 

Whether the weather, amusement parks or meeting Mickey Mouse inspires Xavier is unknown. Nevertheless, there is no question Orlando is a place that holds great significance to the current group of Musketeers.

With tonight’s win, Xavier has advanced to their eighth Sweet Sixteen. They will play the winner of #2 Arizona and #7 St. Mary’s in San Jose, California, on March 23. 

— P. Wesner

Photo created by Peyton Wesner.

RECAP: Hawkins, Lee fly #1 Illinois State past #8 UC Irvine, setting up match-up with #4 UCF

Photo courtesy of Peyton Wesner.

NORMAL, Ill. — Postseason basketball; a new season for all.

Although it was not in the tournament they desired, Illinois State clubbed pesky UC Irvine in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament, 85-71.

Seniors Deontae Hawkins and Paris Lee, in a showing that featured the Redbirds shooting 52% from beyond the arc, scored 22 and 13 points respectively to advance the active home winning streak to 22 games.

“Some guys were like, ‘Man, I’m grateful we’re here but this is not the NCAA Tournament,'” said Lee of the group’s mentality after Selection Sunday. “Once we got settled in practice, everyone was like, ‘We might as well win it while we’re doing it.'” Continue reading RECAP: Hawkins, Lee fly #1 Illinois State past #8 UC Irvine, setting up match-up with #4 UCF

Home court advantage paying off early in the 2017 CIT

Chris Clemons continued his strong play since the regular season ended, scoring 39 points in Campbell’s 98-79 win over Houston Baptist in the First Round of the 2017 CIT on Tuesday. (Source: American Sports Network) (Header; Saint Francis (PA) Basketball)

CALGARY, Alta. — Home court, or home field, advantage in the post-season is a huge advantage in any sport.

Whether it’s hockey, baseball, basketball, or football, among others, playing at home in the playoffs is much easier than having to win on the road in front of a slew of opposing fans.

Through four games of the 2017 CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT, that has become very clear.

After Tuesday’s contests, home teams are a combined 3-1 so far in the first round. Two of the three wins came by sizable margins (nine and 19 points), while the one loss by a home team was decided by just two points.

While this trend bodes well for the rest of the home teams in the remaining games in the opening round, the luck hasn’t always been on the side of the hosts. Continue reading Home court advantage paying off early in the 2017 CIT

2017 CIT opens up with the second annual John McLendon Classic

On Monday night, Ryan Kemrite and the Liberty Flames will go for their 20th win of the year when they host Norfolk State in the second annual John McLendon Classic to open the 2017 CIT. (Source: Liberty University)

LYNCHBURG, Va. — Post-season basketball is back!

On Sunday night, the fields were released for the four post-season tournaments that will take place over the next four weeks. The 68 teams who are participating in the NCAA Tournament were released first, followed by the fields for the NIT, CIT, and CBI.

It’s worth noting that the Vegas Sixteen event that was introduced last season will not be played this season, but the founders are hopeful that it can return next year.

Arguably our favourite tournament, from a sheer team standpoint, is the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. The field is composed of ‘mid-major’ programs who are deserving of a post-season berth, and it uses the old NIT format, where there is no set bracket.

The CIT has several marquee games in the first round which pay homage to past coaches in college basketball. They have added several ‘classics’ to this year’s slate, which adds more appeal to the event.

The second annual John McLendon Classic will be played on Monday night, which opens up post-season play across the country. The Liberty Flames will play host to the Norfolk State Spartans, in what is a great way to kick off an exciting three-week stretch of post-season basketball. Continue reading 2017 CIT opens up with the second annual John McLendon Classic

Trifecta: Three teams with the best chance of earning their first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament

Matt Mooney and the South Dakota Coyotes earned their first-ever regular season Summit League crown this season, and will look to turn that into their first-ever trip to the Big Dance. (Source: South Dakota Athletics)
Matt Mooney and the South Dakota Coyotes earned their first-ever regular season Summit League crown this season, and will look to turn that into their first-ever trip to the Big Dance. (Source: South Dakota Athletics)
CALGARY, Alta. — Some power conference teams simply don’t know what it’s like to not make the NCAA Tournament each year. Teams like the Kansas JayhawksMichigan State Spartans, and even the top-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs have lengthy streaks of appearances in the Big Dance.

On the flip side, some smaller programs are still awaiting their first spot in the magical field of 68.

Advancing to the NCAA Tournament is always tougher for smaller programs. In most cases, non-power conferences are only represented by their respective conference champions. Outside of the Missouri Valley Conference and the West Coast Conference, it’s very rare to see to see multiple teams from the same small conference in the field of 68.

This season, the level of parity across the NCAA appears to be at an all-time high. So far in March, we’ve already seen our fair share of upsets. The Campbell Camels knocked off the UNC Asheville Bulldogs behind a Big South record 51 points from Chris Clemons, and two of the top three teams are already out of the Big South tournament.

Because of these upsets, it makes us think that anything is possible.

In the latest edition of the Trifecta, here are three teams who appear to have the best chance of securing their first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Note: the three teams listed below have yet to begin their conference tournaments.
Continue reading Trifecta: Three teams with the best chance of earning their first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament

Michigan State, Duke, and North Carolina Headline Phil Knight Invitational to Honour Nike Co-Founder

On Wednesday, the 16-team Phil Knight Invitational was announced, which will take place from November 23-24 and 26-27, 2017 in two Portland arenas.
On Wednesday, the 16-team Phil Knight Invitational was announced, which will take place from November 23-24 and 26, 2017 in two Portland arenas.

Nike has done so much for some of the nation’s leading college basketball programs. Several of the top programs across the country don the infamous Nike Swoosh on their jerseys and apparel, and the marketing done by both sides has been a huge success.

On Wednesday, the NCAA and ESPN Events announced an early-season event that will pay homage to Nike co-founder and chairman, Phil Knight, during the 2017-18 season.

The Phil Knight Invitational will see 16 schools from all across the country, who are all sponsored by Nike, converge on the Portland area for two early-season tournaments in celebration of Knight’s 80th birthday.

Knight turns 80 on February 24th, 2018. Continue reading Michigan State, Duke, and North Carolina Headline Phil Knight Invitational to Honour Nike Co-Founder