Northern Iowa hosts Rider tomorrow night in the opening round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. UNI coach Ben Jacobson says the Broncs won six straight games before losing to Iona in the semifinals of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament. “They finished 13-5 and third place in their league…they’re shooting just over 47-percent from the field and 40-percent from the three-point line,” Jacobson said. “They’ve done a great job offensively, pushing the basketball and making plays.”
Rider brings a record of 23-10 to Cedar Falls. Northern Iowa enters the game with 19-13 mark. Jacobson says the Broncs are led by senior point guard Justin Robinson. “He’s got some great numbers on the stat sheet and watching him on film – he’s a guy that can really play,” Jacobson said.
The Panthers have lost seven of their last eight games. Jacobson says his team just made too many mistakes down the stretch. “Had we limited three or four mistakes in a few of those games, we would’ve had a chance to win three or four of those games and be in a much different position than what we ended up being in,” Jacobson said.
Instead of focusing on “what could’ve been,” Jacobson says he’s excited for his seniors to play at home one more time and for his younger players to gain experience. “The practice time, playing competitive games and playing in an event where you have the chance to win it – as Missouri State did last year – I think all of those things really benefit the younger guys,” Jacobson said. Tipoff at the McLeod Center is set for 7 p.m.
Creighton hosts San Jose State in another CIT game tomorrow night in Omaha. Bluejays coach Greg McDermott says the Spartans are dangerous. “They played good basketball in the month of February and won two games in their conference tournament before losing a close game to nationally-ranked Utah State,” McDermott. San Jose State senior Adrian Oliver is the nation’s third-leading scorer at just over 24 points per game.
McDermott says the CIT is a great opportunity for the Bluejays. Four starters on the Creighton squad will return next season. “So, for us to have the opportunity to continue to play…it’s great for our young players,” McDermott said. Tipoff at the Qwest Center is set for 7:05 p.m.