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Drew Ellis covers Oakland University basketball for The Oakland Press. His news and notes keep you up to date with Golden Grizzlies men's basketball.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Oakland headed back to College Insider Tournament

While Oakland won't be in the NCAA tournament this season, the Golden Grizzlies have accepted an offer to play in the College Insider Tournament for the second time in four seasons. Oakland played in the inaugural event in 2009 after falling to North Dakota State in the Summit League Tournament final on a last-second shot. The Grizzlies then went on to lose on a three-quarters court shot to Bradley in the second-round of the CIT.
Oakland will host a first-round game Wednesday at 7 p.m., but its opponent won't be announced until Monday once the fields for the NCAA and NIT tournaments are announced. 
"I'm very excited to reach postseason for the fourth consecutive year," Oakland coach Greg Kampe said. "It is quite an accomplishment when you consider who we lost off last year's team. I am happy for our players and to be able to host makes it even sweeter."
Oakland beat Kent State in a home game at the O'rena three years ago before falling to Bradley, which advanced to the tournament final against Old Dominion.
The tourney field consisted of just 16 teams the first year, but has since been expanded to 24 teams. The tournament's top four teams earn second-round byes. It's unclear how Oakland (17-15) will be seeded.
Oral Roberts played in the tournament last season after losing to Oakland in the Summit League Tournament final, which earned the Golden Grizzlies their second consecutive berth in the NCAA tourney and third overall.
Participating teams are required to finish with a winning record over the final 10 games of the season. Oakland finished 7-3 before losing in Sunday's conference tournament quarterfinal to Southern Utah.
Some of the other household names to take part in past tournaments includes: Valparaiso, Western Michigan and Harvard.
It's possible Summit League Tournament finalist Western Illinois could be invited to the CIT or its competitor, the College Basketball Invitational, a 16-team tournament, which was founded a year earlier. Summit regular-season champion Oral Roberts is likely to accept a bid to the NIT it earned with a 17-1 conference record. The Leathernecks defeated the Golden Eagles in a Monday semifinal before falling to South Dakota State in overtime Tuesday.  
Tickets are on sale for next Wednesday's game at ticketmaster.com and OUgrizzlies.com. Seats can be purchased for as low as $7.

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