Previewing CIT week on the men's side

By Jacob Knabel on Jan. 22, 2018 in Men's Basketball

Hosted by Concordia University, Wisconsin in Mequon, Wis. (R. John Buuck Field House)

CIT links
CU-Wisconsin tournament page
Advance tickets (available until 12 p.m. Jan. 24)
Live webcasts for CIT games
Radio coverage: 104.9 Max Country
Game recaps/interviews
Info for CUNE fans attending CIT

$20 advanced weekend pass | $25 weekend pass purchased on site | $15 day pass | children under six are free

2018 Concordia Invitational Tournament Schedule

Friday, Jan. 26

  • 1 p.m. – Nebraska vs. Ann Arbor (women)
  • 3 p.m. – Nebraska vs. Ann Arbor (men)
  • 6 p.m. – Wisconsin vs. Chicago (women)
  • 8 p.m. – Wisconsin vs. Chicago (men)

Saturday, Jan. 27

  • 12 p.m. – Women’s consolation game
  • 2 p.m. – Men’s consolation game
  • 4 p.m. – Dance/Cheer competition
  • 5:30 p.m. – Women’s championship game
  • 7:30 p.m. – 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. The R. Bar of Staplehurst will be serving food on both days. Bottle Rocket 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 high 27 all-time CIT titles. Only two other Concordias have won more than 10 CIT championships: St. Louis (16) and Chicago (14). Head coach Ben Limback’s squad has won each of the last two CITs and three of the last four. 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.

Back on track
The Bulldogs (14-6, 6-5 GPAC) returned to form last week with wins by comfortable margins over both Haskell Indian Nations University, 91-65, and Dordt, 74-59. CUNE broke out of a recent shooting slump by posting percentages of 56.4 (Haskell) and 62.8 (Dordt) during last week’s action. Sophomore Clay Reimers put together two solid games, totaling 38 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks and five steals. Tanner Shuck went wild at Haskell, knocking down 6-of-9 shots from beyond the arc on the way to a game high 26 points. In the conference race, the Bulldogs sit fifth, only one game behind third-place Northwestern.

Up next
Before placing its focus upon CIT, CUNE has a difficult road game coming up at Hastings (15-7, 5-5 GPAC) on Wednesday. Tipoff from Lynn Farrell Arena is set for 8 p.m. CT. The Broncos are playing good basketball having won six of their last seven games. They rebounded impressively from a 71-58 loss at Doane on Jan. 10 by winning at No. 10 Northwestern, 106-94, and then at home over fourth-ranked Briar Cliff, 96-72. The Bulldogs are looking for a season sweep of Hastings. The first meeting ended with an 81-75 CUNE win inside Walz Arena on Dec. 6. All five starters for CUNE scored in double figures while the Bulldogs outshot the Broncos, 51.9 to 37.7 percent.

The men’s CIT field

Concordia University, Nebraska
Head coach
: Ben Limback, 5th year
Record: 14-6
Conference: Great Plains Athletic Conference (NAIA Division II)
Location: Seward, Nebraska
Top player: For much of the first half of the season, Jake Hornick has been the team’s steadying force as a revelation at the point guard spot. The sophomore from Loveland, Colo., contributes in so many areas, averaging 15.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.6 assists and nearly one steal per game. He and fellow sophomores Clay Reimers and Tanner Shuck make for fun-to-watch up-and-coming trio.
Key stat: This team is not quite as prolific offensively as it was last season when it averaged 88.7 points and shot 52.8 percent from the field, but it has improved significantly in terms of perimeter defense. The 2016-17 team allowed teams to shoot 46.1 percent from the field and 37.0 percent from the 3-point line. Those figures have dropped to 42.9 percent and 31.8 percent, respectively, in 2017-18.
CIT titles: 27 (most recent: 2017)

Concordia University, Ann Arbor
Head coach
: Ricky Yahn, 5th year
Record: 7-14
Conference: Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (NAIA Division II)
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Top player: 6-foot-6 senior forward Connor Phee has been a productive player in his four seasons in Ann Arbor. Now at 1,275 career points, Phee is averaging career highs of 17.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game this season.
Key stat: The Cardinals allow 76.2 points and score 70.9 points per game. CUAA ranks inside the top 50 nationally in just one key team statistical category – blocks per game (3.0).
CIT titles: 3 (most recent: 2015)

Concordia University, Chicago
Head coach
: Randy Rogers, 3rd year
Record: 2-14
Conference: Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NCAA Division III)
Location: River Forest, Illinois
Top player: Junior guard Mitch Pelissier has been a bright spot for a squad that has gotten off to a tough start. Pelissier likes to air it out and averages 22.0 points per game. He’s the lone Cougar to have started each of the team’s first 16 games. His career point total stands at 1,100 entering the week.
Key stat: CUC likes to go up-tempo. The Cougars and their opponents have combined to average 170 points per game. The downside for CUC is that its foes put up 90.8 points per contest and shoot 47.7 percent from the floor.
CIT titles: 14 (most recent: 2011)

Concordia University, Wisconsin
Head coach
: Shawn Cassidy, 11th year
Record: 10-8
Conference: Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NCAA Division III)
Location: Mequon, Wisconsin
Top player: Junior guard Josh Hau earned second team all-conference accolades last season. In 2017-18, Hau is averaging 16.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game as the team’s top offensive threat.
Key stat: The Falcons are 5-2 at home this season, pushing their home mark to 82-34 (.707) during Shawn Cassidy’s tenure as head coach at CUW. The last time the Falcons hosted CIT (2014), CUNE dealt them a 68-64 defeat in the championship game.
CIT titles: 3 (most recent: 2013)