Previewing CIT 2019 week on the men's side

By Jake Knabel on Jan. 21, 2019 in Men's Basketball

#CIT2019
Hosted by Concordia University, Ann Arbor in Ann Arbor, Michigan (Cardinal Field House)

CIT links
CU-Ann Arbor tournament page
Advance tickets (available until 10 p.m. Jan. 23)
Live webcasts for CIT games
Radio coverage: 104.9 Max Country
Game recaps/interviews
CIT alumni and friends social

Tickets
$15 advanced weekend pass | $20 weekend pass purchased on site | $12 day pass | children under six are free

2019 Concordia Invitational Tournament Schedule

Friday, Jan. 25

  • 12 p.m. CST / 1 p.m. EST – Nebraska vs. Wisconsin (women)
  • 2 p.m. CST / 3 p.m. EST – Nebraska vs. Wisconsin (men)
  • 5 p.m. CST / 6 p.m. EST – Ann Arbor vs. Chicago (women)
  • 7 p.m. CST / 8 p.m. EST – Ann Arbor vs. Chicago (men)

Saturday, Jan. 26

  • 9:30 a.m. CST / 10:30 a.m. EST – Dance/Cheer competition
  • 11:30 a.m. CST / 12:30 p.m. EST – Women’s consolation game
  • 1:30 p.m. CST / 2:30 p.m. EST – Men’s consolation game
  • 4:30 p.m. CST / 5:30 p.m. EST– Women’s championship game
  • 6:30 p.m. CST / 7:30 p.m. EST – Men’s championship game

Watch Party at Bottle Rocket
Bottle Rocket Brewing Co. in Seward will host a watch party for all Bulldog games during CIT. Bottle Rocker Brewing Co. is located at 230 South 5th Street in Seward.

CIT Dominance
The Bulldog men’s basketball program has dominated the Concordia Invitational Tournament, capturing an event record 27 all-time CIT titles. Only two other Concordias have won more than 10 CIT championships: St. Louis (16) and Chicago (14). Under head coach Ben Limback, the Bulldogs have won CIT titles in 2014, 2016 and 2017. All-American Chandler Folkerts garnered CIT MVP honors in both 2016 and 2017. While hosting CIT in 2017, the Bulldogs routed the competition, defeating CU-Chicago, 104-82, and then CU-Ann Arbor, 85-58, in the championship game. A year earlier, CUNE escaped the Windy City after surviving a potential game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer in the title game win over CU-Wisconsin. Limback has won five CIT titles as a head coach having also led CU-Ann Arbor to championships in 2006 and 2007. Last season CUNE settled for a win in the consolation game after falling to CUAA on day one.

Three-game win streak ended at Jamestown
Behind junior point guard Brevin Sloup, the Bulldogs got on a nice roll with a three-game win streak that included triumphs over Hastings, No. 7 Briar Cliff and Midland. Concordia enjoyed its best offensive performance all season in upsetting the Chargers. In that contest, Sloup poured in a career high 33 points and the Bulldogs shot 58.2 percent from the field. Then in the 66-51 victory over Midland on Jan. 16, Concordia put the squeeze on the Warriors in the second half. They shot just 24.0 percent from the floor and managed only 15 points over the game’s final 20 minutes. Unfortunately, the well ran dry for the Bulldogs at No. 21 Jamestown. The Jimmies shot 59.3 percent from the floor and stormed to a 95-68 win in North Dakota.

Limback’s squad stands at 11-11 overall (4-10 GPAC) and sits in ninth place in the GPAC standings, one game behind eighth-place Midland. Concordia has had the look of a much bigger threat since moving freshman guard Justin Wiersema into the starting lineup. He is averaging 12.3 points over the past four contests. He’s provided a nice fourth scoring option to go along with the likes of Sloup (16.4), Tanner Shuck (14.4) and Carter Kent (9.5). Chuol Biel has been a nice addition in the post. He leads the team with 31 blocked shots. The Bulldogs continue to seek better offensive consistency.

Free throw shooting has been one of this team’s biggest strengths. Among all NAIA Division II teams, Concordia ranks 25th (.750) in free throw percentage. That percentage has been helped by the fact that the team’s three best free throw shooters also get to the line most frequently. Sloup (.868), Shuck (.814) and Kent (.766) have each shot between 64 and 70 free throws. The success has been a must for an offense that ranks 10th in the GPAC in field goal percentage (.452).

Up next
Before tipping off the 68th annual Concordia Invitational Tournament, the Bulldogs will host Doane (6-16, 3-11 GPAC) at 8 p.m. CST on Wednesday in a clash between teams separated by only one game in the GPAC standings. In the first meeting, a 65-52 Tiger win in Crete, Concordia shot only 31.1 percent from the field while struggling with Doane’s zone defense. Things certainly haven’t gone as scripted for the Tigers, who began the season receiving votes in the NAIA preseason poll. Head coach Ian McKeithen’s squad is led in scoring by Nick Kornieck (17.0 ppg). In the post, 6-foot-10 Trace Tupper is a handful. He put up 12 points and 14 rebounds in the first matchup with the Bulldogs. Concordia has tripped up Doane in each of its previous three trips to Walz Arena.

Wednesday’s game will be covered live by the Concordia Sports Network and by 104.9 Max Country.

The men’s CIT field

Concordia University, Nebraska
Head coach
: Ben Limback, 6th year
Record: 11-11
Conference: Great Plains Athletic Conference (NAIA Division II)
Location: Seward, Nebraska
Top player: This is a tough call between juniors Tanner Shuck and Brevin Sloup, who are capable of carrying the Bulldogs when they’re hot. The duo has combined to go 119-for-305 (.390) from 3-point range this season. Shuck has 1,022 career points.
Key stat: It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster for CUNE, which lately seems to either win comfortably or get blown out. Six of its last seven GPAC games have been decided by double digit margins with the Bulldogs winning two of them by 10 or more. The other victory during that stretch was an 87-84 decision at Hastings.
CIT titles: 27 (most recent: 2017)

Concordia University, Ann Arbor
Head coach
: Ricky Yahn, 6th year
Record: 5-17
Conference: Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (NAIA Division II)
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Top player: Senior guard Jalen Thompson leads CUAA in scoring (16.1), rebounding (5.8) and assists (2.1). This season he eclipsed 1,000 career points and currently stands at 1,209. He put up a single-game career high 35 points back in October.
Key stat: The Cardinals have won two of the last CIT tournaments, including the most recent one that they hosted. In the 2015 championship game in Ann Arbor, Alec Turner drained a trey in the final seconds to give CUAA a 52-49 win over CUNE.
CIT titles: 4 (most recent: 2018)

Concordia University, Chicago
Head coach
: Randy Rogers, 3rd year
Record: 4-12
Conference: Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NCAA Division III)
Location: River Forest, Illinois
Top player: Senior guard Mitch Pelissier has been a perennial CIT all-tournament team member. This season he’s averaging a career high 22.2 points per game and has run his career scoring total to 1,612 points. He is shooting 44.2 percent from the field.
Key stat: CUC plays high possession basketball. It averages 85.4 points per game but also allows 95.0. Opponents are shooting 48.7 percent from the floor and 37.5 percent from 3-point range. The Cougars have yet to win a game away from home.
CIT titles: 14 (most recent: 2011)

Concordia University, Wisconsin
Head coach
: Shawn Cassidy, 11th year
Record: 11-5
Conference: Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NCAA Division III)
Location: Mequon, Wisconsin
Top player: Seniors in 6-foot-7 Andrew Fratzke and 6-foot-2 Josh Hau have been the headliners for a CUW squad that has gotten out to an 11-2 mark in conference play. Hau is averaging a team high 15.4 points (44.8 percent from 3-point range) while Fratzke averages 13.8 points and 6.2 rebounds.
Key stat: Head coach of the Falcons since the 2007-08 season, Cassidy (194-117) is knocking on the door of 200 career victories. He has led CUW to all three of its CIT titles (2008, 2010, 2013).
CIT titles: 3 (most recent: 2013)