Written by Thomas Scott
April 1, 2019 | Both the SWAC and MEAC tournament champions became early casualties of March Madness; with each team losing in the tournament’s opening round. But did you know there was another March Madness? For the past 10 seasons, CollegeInsider.com has provided a postseason tournament specifically for all 23 mid-major conferences. Tomorrow, the Hampton Pirates and Texas Southern Tigers have the opportunity to advance to the CIT Final.
Why was the CIT Tournament created?
Year after year, Power 5 Conferences take the majority of the NCAA tournament at-large bids. This forces many mid-major programs to face a harsh reality: win your conference tournament or be completely excluded from postseason play. While this makes for exciting conference tournament games, many quality teams never get a true taste of the postseason. That is a tragedy, considering most coaches agree that postseason play is a vital component to developing winning players and programs. The CIT tournament was created to reward winning mid-major teams with meaningful postseason games. Past participants include NBA All-Star, Damian Lillard. The tournament is powered by CBS Digital Media and their Sports Live streaming service.
Four seasons ago, the CIT became the first postseason tournament in NCAA Division I basketball history to incorporate a “classic”. The John McLendon Classic is played annually on the first day tournament and will include at least one HBCU team each year. The tournament is named after legendary coach John McLendon, who became the first African-American coach to win an integrated national championship. In fact, he won three consecutive national championships at Tennessee State in 1957, 1958, and 1959. McLendon is also credited with being the first African-American professional coach and first African-American coach of a predominately white team.
How to Watch
The Hampton Pirates will face Marshall Thundering Herd in semi-final number one. Tip off begins at 7:30 pm EST and the game can be watched live here. Semi-final number two will feature Texas Southern versus Green Bay. Tip off begins at 9:30 EST and the game can be streamed here.
Follow @BlackBallSports on Twitter for in-game analysis.