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.
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.