Vandals will play in CIT, 3rd postseason appearance in 4 years


by Jay Tust

Bio | Email | Follow: @KTVBSportsGuy


Posted on March 12, 2012 at 1:25 AM

Updated Monday, Mar 12 at 1:25 AM

MOSCOW - The Idaho men's basketball team accepted an invite to participate in the Tournament on Sunday night, marking the third time in four years under head coach Don Verlin that the Vandals will play in the postseason.

"We’re extremely excited at the opportunity to play more basketball and to continue to build this program,” Verlin said. “I’m excited for this program, our seniors, and our university.”

Idaho will host UC Santa Barbara in the first round of the CIT on Wednesday at the Cowan Spectrum at 7:00 p.m.

The Gauchos went 20-10 overall this season and tied for second in the Big West.  UCSB features three-time All-Big West First Team selection Orlando Johnson, a 6-5 senior guard who averages 19.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Senior guard James Nunnally, a Second-Team All-Big West pick, adds 15.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.7 rebounds per game.

“This is a very good team coming in here,” Verlin said. “It’s a team that is experienced, that has two really powerful wing players – as good of wing players as you’ll see in our conference – and they’ve been to the NCAA tournament the last two years. I was excited to get someone of their caliber, because it challenges us as a team and it gives our fans a great opponent to watch.”

In two prior trips to the CIT under Verlin, the Vandals are 1-2.  In 2009, the Vandals hosted Drake in a 69-67 first-round victory, and then fell in the quarterfinal at Pacific, 69-59. Idaho lost at San Francisco in the first round last season, 81-73.

In its fourth season, the CIT expanded this season to 32 teams. The tournament will consist of five rounds with each game being played at on-campus sites, determined by seeding. The Championship Game will be broadcast live on Fox College Sports on Wednesday, Mar. 28, 2012.

Idaho, who is 18-13 overall, has a chance to win 20 games in season for the first time since the 1992-93 campaign.