By Joel Alderman
Yale and Quinnipiac can’t seem to shake each other off in the post seasons. While the two schools were paired this year in hockey in a best of three ECAC series, they have now been scheduled to play in basketball next Wednesday March 19th, in the opening round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT).
The CIT consists of non-BCS programs who do not get a call from the NCAA, the NIT or the CBI (College Basketball Invitational). The 10 teams chosen so far are among those who have no reasonable prospect of getting into any of the others. The rest of the field will be determined from those not selected to any other tournament by Sunday night.
The co-founders of the CIT are Joe Dwyer and Angela Lento, and the organization is based in Boston.
Up to now, the following match-ups have been made:
March 18: Columbia at Valparaiso; Holy Cross at Brown; Chattanooga at East Tennessee State
March 19: QUINNIPIAC at YALE; Murray State at Missouri State; Pacific at Grand Canyon; Wright State at East Carolina
The second round will be played on March 21st and 22nd. The quarterfinals will be March 25th and 27th. The semifinal is on April 1st and the championship on April 3rd.
The defending champion is East Carolina, which returns to the field this year looking to become the first two time winner in the six year history of the event.
Although there are 32 teams in the field, the promoters, in their infinite wisdom, and obviously looking at the gate, put our “neighborhood” rivals together for a March 19th date at the John J. Lee Amphitheater of Yale’s Payne Whitney Gymnasium.
This will be the first time for the Bulldogs to host a post season game on their own floor, although they did have a home game at the since demolished New Haven Coliseum in the second round of the N.I.T. They lost that one to Tennessee Tech before 9,000 after upsetting Rutgers in the first round. That turned out to be the last basketball game ever played at the Coliseum, and one of the final events of any kind to take place there.
The Bobcats of Quinnipiac had a 14-6 record in the MAAC (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) this season and were 20-11 overall. Yale, after being in contention for the Ivy League crown until the last weekend of play, faded at the end with two season ending loses and finished second at 9-5. Its overall record is 15-13.
Despite being separated by only about ten miles, Quinnipiac and Yale have played each other in basketball only four times before, with the Bobcats winning every one. The last time they faced each other was in 2011 in Hamden. They have been regular opponents in hockey, baseball, softball, lacrosse, and women’s sports, among others.
Just why it was decided to play at Yale seems odd. The spring break at Quinnipiac ends on March 17th, two days before the game, so its student body will be back in time. However, Yale has another vacation week and the university will still look virtually abandoned. So it will probably seem like a Quinnipiac home crowd on Wednesday. Plus, if they were to play in Hamden, right in Quinnipiac’s backyard, even more Bobcat fans would show up, rather than have to get a ride to Yale’s campus. Meanwhile, the effect on attendance from Yale would be negligible.The CIT is novel in that it is the only tournament bearing the name of a website. It is hard to find its exact location by street address. Most information about it is through the internet. The games always present an unfair advantage since all the games are played on the home court of one of the participants and not on a neutral floor.
There is no advance tournament bracketing, but the match ups are arranged after each round, with travel distance a main consideration. Thus coaches are not able to project future opponents, if they continue to win. Nevertheless, playing in the CIT is a bonus for the players, who can extend their seasons and, except for seniors, gain more experience for next year.
Its most publicized game also involved a Connecticut team, Fairfield University. In 2010 the Stags rallied from 27 points behind with 16:06 remaining to defeat George Mason. It was the biggest deficit ever overcome in division one postseason history.
This will be the sixth year of the CollegeInsider.com tournament The semifinals will be played on April 1st and the championship determined on April 3rd. The last two games will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.
Tip-off time for Quinnipiac-Yale this coming Wednesdaywill be at 7 p.m.