Previewing #CIT2023 week on the men's side

By Jacob Knabel on Jan. 22, 2023 in Men's Basketball

WATCH: Sights and sounds from CIT 2017 in Seward

SEWARD, Neb. – CIT week on the Concordia University Nebraska campus has arrived. The Bulldogs are going to get comfortable inside Friedrich Arena while hosting action on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Before focusing on the 70th Concordia Invitational Tournament, Head Coach Ben Limback’s squad will welcome Hastings to Seward on Wednesday night. The Bulldogs are looking to shake off losses last week to No. 20 Morningside, 76-71, (home) and to Northwestern, 79-65 (away). Those results have put Concordia at 11-9 overall (7-7 GPAC). CUNE has dropped three games in a row.

This Week

Wednesday, Jan. 25 vs. Hastings (13-7, 6-6 GPAC), 7:45 p.m.
--Live Webcast/Stats | 104.9 Max Country | Location: Friedrich Arena (Seward, Neb.)

CIT – Friday, Jan. 27 vs. Concordia Chicago (8-2), 8 p.m.
--Live Webcast/Stats | 104.9 Max Country | Location: Friedrich Arena (Seward, Neb.)

CIT – Saturday, Jan. 28 vs. Concordia Ann Arbor/Concordia Wisconsin, 2/7 p.m.
--Live Webcast/Stats | 104.9 Max Country | Location: Friedrich Arena (Seward, Neb.)

2023 CIT Schedule – Jan. 27-28

--Admission at the door will be $15 for a day pass and $25 for a tournament pass; tickets can be purchased in advance by ordering online at
--Streaming: All eight CIT games will be streamed via the Concordia Sports Network. The cost for streaming will be $15 for a day pass and $25 for a tournament pass. Live stats will be available for free and all CUNE games will also be broadcast live via 104.9 Max Country radio.

Visit our official CIT webpage for more information:

Friday, Jan. 27

  • 1 p.m. CST - Ann Arbor vs. Chicago (Women)
  • 3 p.m. CST - Ann Arbor vs. Wisconsin (Men)
  • 6 p.m. CST - Nebraska vs. Wisconsin (Women)
  • 8 p.m. CST - Nebraska vs. Chicago (Men)

Saturday, Jan. 28

  • 9 a.m. CST - Dance Competition
  • 9:45 a.m. CST - Cheer Competition
  • 12 p.m. CST - Women's Consolation Game
  • 2 p.m. CST - Men's Consolation Game
  • 5 p.m. CST - Women's Championship Game
  • 7 p.m. CST - Men's Championship Game
  • Trophy presentation and all-Concordia devotions following last game

By the numbers

·        The Bulldogs have some work to do down the stretch if they are going to secure a national tournament berth in back-to-back years and for the third time in four seasons. The NAIA released official ratings percentage index calculations and ARC ratings on Jan. 16. Concordia landed at No. 51 in the RPI while having played the 41st toughest strength of schedule. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs were ranked ninth in the North-Central region. According to the RPI, Concordia’s best wins have come over No. 27 Northwestern, No. 28 Dordt. The Bulldogs have also competed closely with No. 2 Oklahoma Wesleyan University and No. 7 Morningside.

·        Concordia won two of three matchups with the Mustangs last season, but Morningside (16-3, 10-2 GPAC) has had the Bulldogs’ number going back several years. In the latest matchup, Concordia found itself down 15 (43-28) early in the second half before snapping out of a lull. Noah Schutte scored 20 of his 27 points in the second half while Brad Bennett posted 17 of his 24 points after halftime. Their exploits helped the Bulldogs get within two (71-69) with just over a minute to play. Unfortunately, Concordia came up empty on its next two possessions and the Mustangs sealed the victory. The Bulldogs shot only 39.0 percent from the floor (4-for-21 from 3-point range). Both Schutte (27 points and 10 rebounds) and Gage Smith (13 points and 13 rebounds) posted double-doubles.

·        Concordia found itself down double digits within the first seven minutes of the game in Orange City, Iowa, and never made it competitive. The Red Raiders (15-5, 8-4 GPAC) built a lead as large as 26 points and shot 53.3 percent from the floor. Dillon Carlson led the way with 22 points while making four 3-point field goals. There wasn’t much it could hang its hat on as Concordia even got outrebounded, 37-30. Facing a large deficit, the Bulldogs extended the bench and got nice contributions from Zac Kulus (eight points) and Jaxon Weyand (seven points). Schutte totaled 12 points and seven rebounds and Gage Smith added nine points, six rebounds and five assists.

·        The Morningside game was just another example of why Schutte is considered one of the GPAC’s best players. His 27-point outing last week marked the eighth time this season that he’s scored at least 20. Among GPAC players, Schutte ranks seventh in scoring (17.8), ninth in free throw percentage (.789), 10th in field goal percentage (.537), 17th in rebounds per game (5.9) and 22nd in 3-point field goal percentage (.390). In his career, Schutte has totaled 889 points and 358 rebounds in 72 games (49 starts). He was named to the 2022 NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship All-Tournament Team.

·        Limback used another new starting five last week while inserting Joel Baker into the lineup at Northwestern. Three Bulldogs have started all 20 games this season: Schutte, Gage Smith and Garrett Seagren. Tristan Smith had started the first 15 contests before going down with an injury that will keep him sidelined for the remainder of the season. Freshman Payson Gillespie started three games in a row heading into the trip to Northwestern. The sharpshooting Brad Bennett has opened nine games in the backcourt and figures to have locked in a spot for the rest of this season. Gage Smith has now started 78 games in his career (124 career games played).

Five facts about CUNE Men’s Basketball at CIT

·        The Bulldogs have dominated the Concordia Invitational Tournament, capturing an event record 28 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, 2017 and 2020.

·        Only one CUNE player in tournament history has twice been named the CIT MVP, Chandler Folkerts. The Milford, Neb., native was named CIT MVP in 2016 and 2017. Folkerts piled up 136 points in his eight career CIT games. At the most recent CIT (held in River Forest in 2020), Tanner Shuck earned MVP honors as the Bulldogs rolled past Ann Arbor, 79-57, and Wisconsin, 92-55.

·        Six different head coaches have led the Bulldogs to CIT titles (in order): Reuben Stohs (two), Kent Einspahr (two), Brian Mueller (two), Tom Baack (two), Grant Schmidt (16) and Ben Limback (Four). Schmidt’s 16 CIT championships are tied with Eldon Pederson (Concordia-St. Louis) for the most coaching CIT titles in the history of the tournament.

·        The Bulldogs won their first-ever CIT title in 1964 under the direction of head coach Reuben Stohs while being led by MVP Gordon Bredow. CUNE has won 26 of the past 38 CIT tournaments dating back to 1983. The first CIT was held in 1951.

·        Ben Limback is the only coach in the history of the event to win CIT titles with two different Concordias. Limback also guided Concordia-Ann Arbor to CIT championships in 2006 and 2007 while up against his college coach, Grant Schmidt.

Hastings and the CIT field

Concordia University, Nebraska Bulldogs
Head Coach: Ben Limback, 10th year (175-122 at CUNE)
Record: 11-9 (7-7 GPAC)
Conference: Great Plains Athletic Conference (NAIA)
Location: Seward, Nebraska
Scoring Offense: 75.9 ppg / .455 FG%
Scoring Defense: 69.6 ppg / .426 FG%
CIT Titles: 28 (most recent: 2020)

Probable Lineup
G – Joel Baker (3.4)
G – Brad Bennett (10.6)
G – Garrett Seagren (4.8)
F – Noah Schutte (17.8)
F – Gage Smith (12.7)

Hastings College Broncos
Head Coach: Todd Raridon, 1st year
Record: 13-7 (6-6 GPAC)
Conference: Great Plains Athletic Conference (NAIA)
Location: Hastings, Nebraska
Scoring Offense: 73.3 ppg / .470 FG%
Scoring Defense: 71.3 ppg / .455 FG%

Probable Lineup
G – Grady Corrigan (10.1)
G – Evan Kingston (5.6)
G – Reggie Thomas (19.6)
F – Danilo Matovic (7.3)
F – Tyrique McMurrin (10.5)

Concordia University Ann Arbor Cardinals
Head Coach: Ricky Yahn, 10th year
Record: 7-13 (7-7 WHAC)
Conference: Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (NAIA)
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Scoring Offense: 67.5 ppg / .401 FG%
Scoring Defense: 71.6 ppg / .467 FG%
CIT Titles: 4 (most recent: 2018)

Probable Lineup
G – Kip French (10.7)
G – Zackary Johnson (8.1)
G/F – Matt Lockhart (10.8)
F – Nate Brighton (6.9)
F – Zac Clark (9.1)

Concordia University Chicago Cougars
Head Coach: Steve Kollar, 4th year
Record: 8-2 (5-0 NACC)
Conference: Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NCAA Division III)
Location: River Forest, Illinois
Scoring Offense: 81.7 ppg / .472 FG%
Scoring Defense: 75.2 ppg / .468 FG%
CIT Titles: 14 (most recent: 2011)

Probable Lineup
G – Jacob Collicott (13.9)
G – Justin Greenlee (6.8)
G – Jordan Matthews (16.8)
G – Emanuel Wilson (12.6)
F – William Bishop-Green (8.7)

Concordia University Wisconsin Falcons
Head Coach: Shawn Cassidy, 16th year
Record: 4-12 (2-8 NACC)
Conference: Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NCAA Division III)
Location: Mequon, Wisconsin
Scoring Offense: 76.3 ppg / .462 FG%
Scoring Defense: 79.7 ppg / .458 FG%
CIT Titles: 4 (most recent: 2019)

Probable Lineup
G – Freeman Jackson (18.4)
G – Jared Jurss (11.8)
G – Grant Karsten (8.3)
G – Matt LeVene (9.1)
C – Jack Fritz (4.5)

Next week

It will be strictly conference play the rest of the regular season. The Bulldogs will play at Midland on Feb. 1 before returning home to host No. 3 Dordt on Feb. 4.