Chesterton Tribune



Valpo U. gets NIT at-large bid

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The Valparaiso University menís basketball team learned Sunday evening that it had received an at-large berth in the 2017 National Invitation Tournament (NIT) and will open tournament play as a seventh seed versus second-seeded Illinois Tuesday night at 6:15 p.m. in Champaign, live on ESPN2.

Valpo is appearing in the NIT for a second straight season, following the Crusadersí run to the NIT championship game at Madison Square Garden last year.

Overall, it is the programís fourth appearance all-time in the NIT, where it holds a 4-3 record. This is also the Crusadersí second at-large berth into the NIT, joining the 2002-03 squad which won the Mid-Con regular season title and dropped a two-point decision at Iowa.

This yearís Crusader squad earned a share of the Horizon League regular season championship – the programís fifth league regular season title in the last six years – and will enter the NIT with a 24-8 overall record.

Valpo will be without the services of star senior Alec Peters, senior guard Shane Hammink – who averages 15.5 points and 4.1 rebounds per game – and junior guard Tevonn Walker – who averages 11.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per game – will lead the Crusaders into the tournament.

Illinois enters the NIT at 18-14 overall and posted an 8-10 record in Big Ten play this year. The Illini, who announced on Saturday that former head coach John Groce had been relieved of his duties, are led by senior guard Malcolm Hill, who averages 16.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.



Posted 3/13/2017




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