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Need to know: CIT 2016

By Jacob Knabel on Jan. 26, 2016 in Athletic Announcements

SEWARD, Neb. – The week of the 65th annual Concordia Invitational Tournament has arrived. This weekend both Bulldog basketball programs seek their 26th all-time CIT titles when they take the hardwood at Geiseman Gymnasium on the Concordia University Chicago campus (Jan. 29-30). For more information from this year’s host, click HERE.

Concordia University Chicago is located at 7400 Augusta St, River Forest, IL 60305.

Ticket Information
Two-day pass on/before Wednesday, Jan. 27 – $15
Two-day pass after Wednesday, Jan. 27 – $20
One-day pass – $12
CIT program – $3

2016 CIT Schedule

Friday, Jan. 29
1 p.m. – (W) CUNE vs. CUAA
3:15 p.m. – (M) CUNE vs. CUAA
6 p.m. – (W) CUC vs. CUW
8:15 p.m. – (M) CUC vs. CUW

Saturday, Jan. 30
12 p.m. – women’s consolation
2:15 p.m. – men’s consolation
5 p.m. – women’s championship
7:15 p.m. – men’s championship

Important Links

Alumni Reception
For those who RSVP’d, remember to attend the Concordia Nebraska alumni and friends gathering at 6:30 p.m. CT on Friday (Jan. 29). The event will be held at FatDuck Tavern & Grill located at 7218 Madison St, Forest Park, IL 60130. An appetizer buffet and cash bar will be available. For more details, click HERE.

What the Bulldogs are saying about CIT

● Drew Olson, Bulldog head women’s basketball coach
CIT is an awesome event. The atmosphere is unmatched. Fans travel for miles to be there and the bands from all four schools are there. It’s what college athletics should be all the time. There is just this automatic healthy rivalry when you bring these Concordia schools together. Every year it is a fantastic tournament that the teams will always remember.

● Ben Limback, Bulldog head men’s basketball coach
I think what makes CIT so special is that all four Concordias share the same faith in Jesus Christ and the weekend is a great demonstration of passion, intensity and God-given talents. For those that have been there multiple years, it’s also a great way to reunite with fellow Concordians.

● Becky Mueller, senior forward
It’s pretty awesome (winning a CIT title) especially when the crowd’s big and the fans are there supporting us. CIT is unique because we’re all connected as Concordias. At the same time everyone wants us to lose. It’s fun to go out there and win and show them what we’ve got.

(The support) is pretty big. We’re a school that always has a ton of fans travel and it just makes the atmosphere crazy and exciting and fun. Everyone loves playing in big games like that when the crowd’s going crazy.

This year we actually have quite a few girls who haven’t been to a CIT. We kind of let them know a little bit of what to expect, how it’s going to be crazy and there will be a lot of people. (Fans) are going to want us to lose. They kind of know what to expect but at the same time, we want to let them experience it for themselves and discover how awesome it is.

I love it (role as a favorite). I think it’s awesome. Having all three other schools cheering against you makes it fun. You hit big shots and the crowd goes silent and our fans go crazy.

● Robby Thomas, senior forward
I’m really excited (for my last CIT). The whole team is hungry for it, especially the returners. We let it get away last year. This year we’re ready to come back and win the whole thing this time.

(Winning CIT) is a pretty incredible feeling. It’s awesome being able to celebrate with your team and coaches and all the people that make the trip out. You won it for the whole school. It’s a big deal.

It means a lot (to represent Concordia Nebraska). You can tell that faculty and other students take it seriously, too. Going out and doing well for the whole school and making them proud is a good feeling.

Bulldogs dominate CIT

The Bulldogs have dominated the first 64 years of the Concordia Invitational Tournament, which has taken place every year since 1951, with the exception of 1976. Women’s basketball became part of the event beginning in 1973. Since 1983, CUNE has been especially dominant, winning 25 of 33 women’s titles and 23 of 33 men’s championships. From 1996 – 2006, the Bulldog women won 11-straight CIT titles. The CUNE men have put together two different streaks of seven-consecutive CIT championships (1986 – 1992 and 1999 – 2005).

At last year’s event held in Ann Arbor, Bailey Morris earned MVP honors for the second year in a row as the Bulldogs blew away both CUC, 102-66, and CUW, 89-37, on the way to their 24th CIT championship in a 29-year span. Head coach Drew Olson has now won six CIT titles, second only to Carl Everts’ seven for the most by a Bulldog women’s basketball coach. Morris became the sixth Bulldog in program history to win multiple CIT MVP awards. She was joined on last year’s all-tournament team by Tracy Peitz.

On the men’s side, Ben Limback’s squad suffered heartbreak in the title game. Limback’s former team, CUAA, got a last-second 3-pointer from Alec Turner to break what had been a 49-all tie. Joel Haywood, who went over 1,000 career points in the 84-73 win over CUC a day earlier, collected all-tournament honors. Concordia had hoped to defeat the tournament host in the CIT title game for the second-straight year after having topped CUW in the 2014 championship tilt. Limback has won three CIT titles as a head coach, including two at CU-Ann Arbor. Grant Schmidt won 16 CIT championships during his 23-year tenure at CUNE.

CUNE men’s CIT titles (25)
1964 | 1977 | 1983 | 1984 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2009 | 2012 | 2014

CUNE women’s CIT titles (25)
1983 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1994 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2012 | 2014 | 2015

Scouting the 2016 field

MEN

Concordia University Ann Arbor
Head Coach: Ricky Yahn (3rd year)
Record: 10-11
Conference: Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (NAIA Division II)
All-Time CIT Titles: 3 (most recent: 2015)
Scoring Offense: 68.6 (121st in NAIA Division II)
Scoring Defense: 72.6 (36th in NAIA Division II)
Scoring Leader: Alec Turner – 13.4 ppg
Rebound Leader: Joe Remstad – 6.4 rpg
Assists Leader: Alec Turner – 2.8 apg
Overview: Champions of the 2015 CIT hosted in Ann Arbor, the Cardinals sit in the middle of the pack in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference with a league record of 7-8. Third-year head coach Ricky Yahn’s squad has struggled offensively, ranking 127th out of 133 NAIA Division II teams in field goal percentage (.392). CUAA, which won five of its first six games, is 5-10 over its last 15 games. Current Bulldog head coach Ben Limback led the Cardinals to their first two CIT titles (2006 and 2007) in program history.

Concordia University Chicago
Head Coach: Randy Rogers (1st year)
Record: 4-12
Conference: Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NCAA Division III)
All-Time CIT Titles: 14 (most recent: 2011)
Scoring Offense: 79.4 ppg (91st in NCAA Division III)
Scoring Defense: 95.2 ppg (411th in NCAA Division III)
Scoring Leader: Mitch Pelissier – 16.1 ppg
Rebound Leader: DeAires Blackwell – 6.5 rpg
Assists Leader: Mitch Pelissier – 2.81 apg
Overview: The Cougars are aiming for their 15th CIT title and first since 2011. CUC is off to a 4-12 start under first-year head coach Randy Rogers, who has his team playing an up-tempo style. Opposing teams have feasted offensively, averaging 95.2 points while shooting 50.1 percent from the field against the Cougars, who ranked 411th in NCAA Division III in scoring defense. CUC has moved on without Kylan Anderson, who averaged 29.1 points over the season’s first seven games.

Concordia University Nebraska
Head Coach: Ben Limback (3rd year)
Record: 12-9
Conference: Great Plains Athletic Conference (NAIA Division II)
All-Time CIT Titles: 25 (most recent: 2014)
Scoring Offense: 84.8 ppg (T-22nd in NAIA Division II)
Scoring Defense: 77.3 ppg (84th in NAIA Division II)
Scoring Leader: Chandler Folkerts – 19.1 ppg
Rebound Leader: Chandler Folkerts – 8.2 rpg
Assists Leader: Jamie Pearson – 3.55 apg
Overview: The Bulldogs hope to make an appearance in the CIT title game for a fifth-straight year after losing a heartbreaker in last year’s championship game. Head coach Ben Limback’s third edition at CUNE features a potent offense led by big man Chandler Folkerts, who ranks second nationally in field goal percentage (.646). Limback is the only coach in the event’s history to win a CIT title for two different Concordias. Among all NAIA Division II teams, the Bulldogs rank ninth in blocks per game (4.3) and 10th in field goal percentage offense (.491).

Concordia University Wisconsin
Head Coach: Shawn Cassidy (8th year)
Record: 9-8
Conference: Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NCAA Division III)
All-Time CIT Titles: 3 (most recent: 2013)
Scoring Offense: 82.2 ppg (54th in NCAA Division III)
Scoring Defense: 75.1 ppg (T-227th in NCAA Division III)
Scoring Leader: Eric Kittel – 16.1 ppg
Rebound Leader: Malcolm Bowers – 4.9 rpg
Assists Leader: Eric Kittel – 2.94 apg
Overview: A run of three-straight CIT title game appearances came to an end last year in Ann Arbor for Shawn Cassidy’s program, which last took home the CIT trophy in 2013. The Falcons sit in a three-way tie for third in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference with a league record of 7-6. CUW ranks fifth in the NACC with an average of 82.2 points per game. Junior guard Eric Kittel makes the offense go. He shoots better than 40 percent (50-for-120) from 3-point range.

WOMEN

Concordia University Ann Arbor
Head Coach: Thad Sankey (3rd year)
Record: 10-10
Conference: Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (NAIA Division II)
All-Time CIT Titles: 2 (most recent: 2013)
Scoring Offense: 66.1 ppg (73rd in NAIA Division II)
Scoring Defense: 65.2 ppg (58th in NAIA Division II)
Scoring Leader: Kari Borowiak – 14.1 ppg
Rebound Leader: Karlee Morris – 11.9 rpg
Assists Leader: Kari Borowiak – 4.0 apg
Overview: CUNE alum Thad Sankey scrapped the frenetic, up-tempo style it used last season for a slower approach in 2015-16. After enduring a 6-24 campaign in 2014-15, the Cardinals have improved immensely this season behind guards Kari Borowiak and Brianna Rowe. Defensively, CUAA has held opponents to 65.2 points per game and a 38.4 field goal percentage. The Cardinals last won a CIT title in 2013 inside Walz Arena.

Concordia University Chicago
Head Coach: Rusty Rogers (2nd year)
Record: 6-10
Conference: Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NCAA Division III)
All-Time CIT Titles: 4 (most recent: 1986)
Scoring Offense: 71.6 ppg (46th in NCAA Division III)
Scoring Defense: 71.8 ppg (382nd in NCAA Division III)
Scoring Leader: Lauren Orr – 12.7 ppg
Rebound Leader: Angelik Young – 8.0 rpg
Assists Leader: Courtney Lofink – 5.06 apg
Overview: Second-year head coach Rusty Rogers led the Cougars to a 16-11 record in 2014-15, marking a massive turnaround as compared to the 2-23 season in 2013-14. It was just the fourth winning season over the past 30 years for the CUC program. The Cougars entered the week at 6-10 overall with three losses coming by three points or less. Rogers’ squad has struggled offensively, shooting 38.2 percent from the field. Junior forward Lauren Orr has emerged as the team’s top scorer.

Concordia University Nebraska
Head Coach: Drew Olson (10th year)
Record: 15-5
Conference: Great Plains Athletic Conference (NAIA Division II)
All-Time CIT Titles: 25 (most recent: 2015)
Scoring Offense: 85.4 ppg (4th in NAIA Division II)
Scoring Defense: 64.3 ppg (47th in NAIA Division II)
Scoring Leader: Quinn Wragge – 12.6 ppg
Rebound Leader: Quinn Wragge – 6.2 rpg
Assists Leader: Mary Janovich – 2.67 apg
Overview: The Bulldogs have reloaded admirably after losing two All-Americans from last year’s national runner up. Freshman Quinn Wragge enters the week on a tear having averaged 18.0 points and 7.3 rebounds over the past four games. Concordia owns four wins over top-10 ranked opponents and is coming off back-to-back CIT titles. Head coach Drew Olson has guided the program to six CIT titles over the past nine years. The Bulldogs rank second among all NAIA Division II teams with an average of 10.3 made 3-point field goals per game. They have been without 2014-15 GPAC freshman of the year Mary Janovich for each of the last two contests.

Concordia University Wisconsin
Head Coach: Stacey Brunner-Jones (12th year)
Record: 13-3
Conference: Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NCAA Division III)
All-Time CIT Titles: 3 (most recent: 2007)
Scoring Offense: 64.7 ppg (165th in NCAA Division III)
Scoring Defense: 51.9 ppg (26th in NCAA Division III
Scoring Leader: Madelyn Landgraf – 12.8 ppg
Rebound Leader: Brianna Wagner – 8.1 rpg
Assists Leader: Samantha Blissett – 3.0 apg
Overview: Twelfth-year head coach Stacey Brunner-Jones’ (216-100, .684) squad aims to end a drought of eight-straight seasons without a CIT title. A power in the NAAC, the Falcons are tied atop the league standings with Milwaukee School of Engineering and Wisconsin Lutheran (all 10-2 in league play). CUW is one of NCAA Division III’s stingiest teams, holding opponents to just 34.8 percent shooting from the floor. Senior guard Madelyn Landgraf is the only Falcon averaging in double figures in scoring.