Cajuns to face TAMUCC in CIT
The college basketball season continues for Ragin’ Cajuns Men’s Basketball as the University of Louisiana at Lafayette announced its participation in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament on Monday.
Although the Cajuns did not make the NCAA basketball tournament, the CIT provides the Cajuns an opportunity to play in the postseason.
“It’s obviously not what we had in mind when we entered into the conference tournament,” said senior guard Kasey Shepherd, “but the fact that we get to continue playing is something I’m excited about.”
The Cajuns will face off against Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi 7:15 p.m. Wednesday in the Cajundome.
The 32-team, non-bracketed tournament is composed of programs outside the power-five conferences that didn’t make it to the NCAA Tournament or the National Invitational Tournament. All 31 games are played on campus sites.
To limit travel and missed classes, the tournament uses the old NIT format, with future round’s opponents determined by the previous round’s results. In 2009 and 2010, the tournament fielded 16 teams. 2011’s tournament featured 24 teams, and the tournament expanded to 32 teams in 2012.
The tournament’s selection committee is composed of 23 people ranging from former coaches, players and major sports figures.
This is the second consecutive season UL Lafayette will appear in the tournament, and its third appearance overall. The first appearance came in 2012, where the Cajuns lost to Rice University by a final score of 68-63 in the first round. In 2015, the Cajuns had their best CIT showng in school history when they advanced to the quarterfinals with victories over the University of the Incarnate Word and Sam Houston State University before falling to eventual tournament champion, the University of Evansville.
The tournament, now in its eighth season, has featured five NBA players in the tournament’s history such as the Portland Trailblazers’ Damian Lillard and the Orlando Magic’s Elfrid Payton, the latter of whom played for UL Lafayette. Also playing in the tournament was Travis Bader, the NCAA’s record holder for most career three-pointers with 504.
The 2016 CIT will mark the Ragin’ Cajuns 21st postseason appearance, with two National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics tournament appearances, five NIT appearances, one appearance in the NCAA Division II Tournament, and 10 NCAA tournament appearances — although four were vacated due to the “death penalty” of 1973.
Shawn Long will lead the Ragin’ Cajuns into the postseason averaging 19.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. TAMU-CC forward Rashawn Thomas, who averaged 16.6 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, will face Long.
The Ragin’ Cajuns women’s basketball team will also see postseason action, as they were given the No. 1 seed in the Women’s Basketball Invitational Monday evening. They will host Northwestern State University Wednesday at 5 p.m. in the Cajundome.