Chants play host to Mercer in opening matchup of CIT

ccuhoops-10layupThe Coastal Carolina University men’s basketball team received its first round opponent in the 2016 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT), and the verdict was the Mercer Bears out of the Southern Conference. The Chanticleers and Bears are slated for a 7 p.m. tipoff on Tuesday, March 15, at the HTC Center.

Tickets for the game are $15 for reserved Teal seats, $12 for reserved Bronze section seats and $10 for general admission. All CCU students will be admitted free of charge, compliments of Coastal Carolina University. See below for complete ticket information.

Coastal will be making its sixth postseason appearance in the last seven years as the Chants have twice played in the NCAA, NIT and CIT tournaments during that stretch. The Chanticleers will look to earn the program’s first postseason victory in program history on Tuesday.

Coastal last played in the CIT in 2012, falling in the first round at Old Dominion.

The Chanticleers enter the CIT boasting an 18-11 overall record and they tied for third in the Big South’s regular season standings. Guards Shivaughn Wiggins and Elijah Wilson were each named Honorable Mention All-Big South, while forward Tristian Curtis was named the league’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Mercer went 19-14 during the regular season and defeated The Citadel in the first round of the SoCon Tournament before falling to ETSU in the quarterfinals.

The Bears are the only program in the country to record wins in all four postseason tournaments in the last four years, winning the College Insider Tournament in 2012, advancing to the National Invitation Tournament round of 32 in 2013, reaching the NCAA Round of 32, thanks to a win over Duke, in 2014 and advancing to the second round of the College Basketball Invitational last season.

Mercer is one of seven teams to have won a CIT championship and have the opportunity to be the first program to win multiple titles in the tourney.

The CIT features five rounds of play over the next three weeks. The semifinals (March 27) and championship game (March 29) will be televised live on CBS Sports Network.

The 32-team field is made up of non-Power 5 programs, not selected to participate in the NCAA or NIT (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, PAC-12 and SEC teams are not considered). All 31 games are played on campus sites. In an effort to minimize travel and limit missed class time, the CIT uses the old NIT model, with future round opponents determined by results of the previous round, ensuring geographic stability. The 2009 and 2010 tournaments were contested by 16 teams. The 2011 CIT consisted of 24 teams and the field expanded to its current 32-team format in 2012.

Photo by Joel Beachum

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