Georgia State has accepted an invitation to play in the CollegeInsider.com men’s basketball tournament.
The Panthers will be a No. 1 seed in a region and will host Tennessee Tech (19-13) at 7 p.m. Tuesday, according to coach Ron Hunter. A top seed is important because each round of the tournament is played at host sites, decided by seeding. If the Panthers were to advance to the championship game, scheduled for March 28, they could host.
“It’s been a long time since people were talking about Georgia State in the month of March,” Hunter said.
If Georgia State (21-11) were invited to the NIT, whose invitations will be issued Sunday, it wouldn’t play in the CollegeInsider.com, commonly called the CIT.
Hunter said after the season that he hoped to play in one of the postseason events because he wanted to give the team’s six seniors a chance to keep playing. It could be expensive. The CIT charges a $31,500 fee to host a game. However, the host school keeps all of the ticket revenues and concessions. The CIT covers the referees and the travel team’s expenses.
Hunter said he hasn’t had a chance to scout Tennessee Tech, but he knows the squad features eight players from Georgia, including Kevin Murphy a 6-7 guard from Atlanta’s Creekside High who scored 50 points against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville this season.
This will be the fourth season for the CIT, which has a unique format. The first round features 12 games. Four teams are given byes into the quarterfinals after the first round. The championship game will be held on March 28. Past champions are Santa Clara in 2011, Old Dominion in 2010 and Missouri State in the inaugural event. First-round game are March 13-15. Second-round games are March 16-18. Quarterfinals are March 20-21. Semifinals are March 23-24.
The CIT selection committee includes two members with ties to the state: former Panthers coach Lefty Driesell and former Georgia coach Hugh Durham.
“This is really special for a lot of these kids,” Hunter said. “Playing in March is going to be our identify from now on.”
In other news, Hunter said recruiting is going well and that the season’s success is allowing him to be a bit more choosey as to who he can take with his three remaining scholarships.
He said he is definitely going to sign two players and may save the third scholarship to try to balance the classes.
He wants players who are good fits in his various zone defenses, and really wants aggressive rebounders.
“We are a rebounder away from better next year than we were this year,” he said.
– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu