GRAND FORKS, N.D. – North Dakota men’s basketball had its season extended on Sunday after the program accepted a bid from CollegeInsider.com officials to play in their 2016 postseason tournament. This will be the fifth time in the last six seasons that UND has earned a bid to the CIT and first time the Fighting Hawks will host a Division I postseason game at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.
UND’s first-round opponent will be UC Irvine and the two programs will play for the first time since the 1975-76 season on Wednesday, March 16 at 7 p.m. UND owns a 2-0 edge all-time against the Anteaters. UND won both games during a home-and-home series between 1975-77.
The Anteaters are coming off a season where they shared the Big West Conference regular-season title and own a 25-9 record. UND enters the game at 17-15 after registering a nine-win improvement from a season ago and taking eventual Big Sky champion Weber State into overtime before falling to the Wildcats in the 2016 Big Sky Tournament semifinals last week in Reno, Nev.
"We are excited to continue to play more basketball this season and especially grateful to the CIT and our administration for orchestrating this opportunity to play in front of our fans once again," UND head coach Brian Jones said. "They have really rallied around this young team and made The Betty a great college basketball atmosphere and that is something our players do not take for granted."
"There is not a lot of familiarity with UC Irvine, which is what makes these postseason tournaments unique," Jones added. "Obviously, they had an outstanding season in the Big West, were co-champions, won 25 games and advanced to their conference tournament semifinals like we did, so it should be an intriguing matchup and challenge for our guys on Wednesday."
The Fighting Hawks posted a 10-4 record on their home court this season and bring a five-game home winning streak into the contest against the Anteaters, who posted an identical 10-4 record on the road this season.
Tickets go on sale Monday at Noon CT at the Ralph Engelstad Arena box office or online at UNDsports.com/tickets. Men’s basketball season-ticket holders have until Noon CT on Wednesday to reserve their seats through their My North Dakota Account. Ticket prices are set at $10/$15 for adults and $5 for youth. UND students will a valid ID are free.
The CIT invites 32 mid-major programs to participate in its annual tournament that dates back to 2009. UND last played in the CIT back in 2014 ending a run of four-consecutive appearances.
Adult: $10 upper reserved and $15 lower reserved
Youth (2-12 years): $5
UND Students (with valid ID): Free
The Ralph Engelstad Arena box office is open from 10 am to 6 pm, Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. t0 2 p.m. on Saturdays.
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