On the heels of one of the great seasons in school history, the USC Upstate men’s basketball team has accepted an invitation to host a first-round CollegeInsider.com Tournament game at the Hodge Center Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Upstate set a single-season record for wins during the Division I era with 23 and reached the finals of the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament for the first time in school history. Along the way, Upstate turned in victories over Georgia Tech and Mississippi State for wins over the ACC and SEC in back-to-back seasons.
The Spartans registered their first six-game winning streak since the 2005-06 season, and Upstate also won the most true road games (9) since the 1990-91 team finished the season with 11.
“We’re very excited to be a part of the postseason for the third time in the last four seasons,” USC Upstate head coach Eddie Payne said. “Having the opportunity to continue playing is really a testament to our team, and we are grateful to come back to the Hodge and let our fans and supporters see us play again. We really hope our fans show up in big numbers and that we have an outstanding crowd.”
The 32-team tournament made up of non-BCS programs is entering its seventh year and has proved to be a launching pad for programs heading into the following season. The complete 2015 CIT field will be announced by Collegeinsider.com on Selection Sunday, March 15. Florida Gulf Coast, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Oakland and Saint Francis (Pa.) have already accepted bids to the tournament.
With a win in the opening round, Upstate could host a second-round contest as well. The CIT does not utilize a bracket, instead opting to use the old NIT model in which future opponents are determined by results of the previous round to ensure geographic stability. The second round and quarterfinals dates are flexible based on travel, but the semifinals will take place March 31 and the championship is April 2. The semifinals and finals will be broadcast nationally on CBS Sports Network.
“I am so proud of our senior class for leading this program over a four-year period,” Upstate Director of Athletics Lee Fowler said. “I received a great number of calls after our game Sunday expressing appreciation for the way our team performed this season, and we’re excited to have the opportunity to provide our fans with another chance to see us inside the Hodge Center.”
Everyone attending any CIT game must purchase a ticket, including current USC Upstate season ticket holders as well as students and faculty & staff who normally receive free admission into games during the regular season.
Current Spartan season ticket holders will have their existing seats reserved until Friday, March 13 at 5 p.m. for the opening round. Season ticket holders can call (864) 503-5144 or (864) 503-5893 to reserve their tickets for purchase at will call or by picking them up at the Hodge from 2-5 p.m. Thursday and Friday in person.
Students, faculty & staff and the general public may purchase tickets in-person in the Hodge Center Monday from 2-5 p.m. as well. Tickets can also be purchased online beginning Wednesday at noon. For more information on tickets for the CollegeInsider.com Tournament, please call (864) 503-5144 or (864) 503-5893.