ULM to be Austin Peay’s opening-round opponent in the CIT
APSU Sports Information
Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University men’s basketball will host ULM in its opening game of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament, 7:00pm, Thursday, March 15th, 2018 in the Dunn Center.
That was announced Sunday night after the finalization of the CIT field, which features 20 teams and begins 11:00am (CT), Monday, with four games on CBS Sports Network throughout the day.
Matt Figger and the Austin Peay Basketball team will take on ULM in the opening game of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament at the Dunn Center on Thursday, March 15th. (APSU Sports Information)
The meeting between the Govs and Warhawks will be the Coach John McLendon Classic game, honoring the late former coach of Cleveland State, who is recognized as the first African-American head basketball coach at predominantly white university.
This will be the first-ever meeting between the Govs and Warhawks, who finished sixth in the Sun Belt and advanced to the Sun Belt Tournament quarterfinals before falling to Georgia Southern, going 16-15 overall and 9-9 in Sun Belt play.
ULM ranked among the Sun Belt leaders in scoring defense (68.0 points per game, third), three-point shooting (36.3 percent, third) and turnover margin (+1.55, third).
The matchup will feature a battle between Sun Belt Freshman of the Year Michael Ertel and Terry Taylor, the Ohio Valley Conference Freshman of the Year. All-OVC First-Teamer Averyl Ugba also will get a solid challenge in the form of Travis Munnings, a 6-6, 200-pound forward named to the Sun Belt’s second-team after leading ULM in scoring (15.8 ppg) and rebounding (7.3 rebounds per game).
The Govs and Warhawks played a limited amount of like opponents; Austin Peay went 3-0 against Troy and Jacksonville State, while ULM went 1-2 with a road loss to the Gamecocks and a split against the Trojans.
ULM is a veteran squad, with less than 25 percent of its minutes going to freshmen or sophomores. And head coach Keith Richard has tapped even deeper into the international market than the Govs, bringing in three players from Australia and two more from the Bahamas on the Warhawks’ 14-man roster.
Similar to Austin Peay in the OVC, ULM was picked low in the Sun Belt preseason poll but defied expectations, winning eight of their last 11 league games going into tournament play.
Richard, in his eighth season at the helm, produced back-to-back 20-win seasons in 2014-15 and 2015-16, earning CBI runner-up honors in the former and another appearance in the CIT in the latter.
He won the Sun Belt regular season title at Louisiana Tech in 1998-99—his first season of nine seasons leading the program—and was Sun Belt Coach of the Year in 1999 and 2015. On the Austin Peay sideline he’ll find Matt Figger, who won OVC Coach of the Year in his first season at the helm of the Governors.
The winner between the Govs and Warhawks also will earn the first CIT victory for their respective program; ULM fell 58-57 to Furman in the 2016 tournament, while the Govs dropped an 81-74 decision to Bradley in the inaugural tournament back in 2009.
Thursday’s contest will be the first postseason, post-conference tournament basketball played in the Dunn Center since 2003, when the Govs hosted then-Atlantic Sun member Belmont in the NIT’s opening round.
Overall, this will be Austin Peay’s 16th appearance in a national postseason tournament; in addition to two CIT bids, the Govs have participated in 11 NCAA Tournaments (seven Division I, five under the old College Division format), two NIT Tournaments and the 2011 College Basketball Invitational.
This now marks eight postseason appearances for the Governors since 2003, tied with Murray State for the most by an OVC team during that time.
Tickets can be purchased immediately by visiting www.letsgopeay.com/sporttix or calling 931.221.PEAY.
Tickets are $20.00 for reserved seating, $15.00 for general admission and $10.00 for kids (ages 3-12) and military. Tickets for APSU students with university-issued ID will also be $10.00, although 200 complimentary tickets will be provided to the student body courtesy of Austin Peay Student Affairs, available on a first-come, first-served basis when gates open at 6:00pm on the day of the game.
Governors Club members with reserved parking (Monocle Level or higher) will maintain their parking spots, using the same pass they were issued earlier in the season; if you have already disposed of your parking pass for the year, the gameday parking lot attendants will have a list of qualified donors for their respective spots. The Governors Club hospitality area will be available to members at Monocle Level or higher from 6:15pm to 7:00pm and again at halftime.