Tarleton State earns bid as host school for CIT

The Texans will host a postseason tournament for the first time as an NCAA Division I program


STEPHENVILLE — For the second straight season, the Tarleton State Texans are headed to a postseason tournament, this year to The CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, presented by BSN SPORTS. For the first time as a Division I program, the Texans will host a postseason game, hosting the Lou Henson Classic pod as one of the four hosts of the CIT presented by BSN Sports.

Wisdom Gym will host a pair of first-round match-ups and a second-round game on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Texans will open the tournament with a 6 p.m. tip against Texas Southern. Fellow WAC member, Abilene Christian will battle Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to conclude the first round at 8 p.m.  The winners will battle on Wednesday at 6 p.m. to be awarded the Lou Henson Classic Championship and earn a spot in the CIT Semifinals.

“It’s always a great honor to be selected to participate in a post season tournament with the possibility of advancing,” said head coach Billy Gillispie. “March Madness is probably the most important and fun event of all sporting events. Our players have had a great season and definitely deserve the chance to keep playing. They are excited about playing and especially eager to get to play at Wisdom Gym in front of the best fans around. It should be another great time and another step in the right direction in developing a high level Division 1 championship caliber basketball program. Let’s have some fun!”

The CIT is one of four major postseason tournaments for NCAA Division I programs. Due to the Texans still being in their reclassification process, Tarleton is not eligible by current NCAA rules to compete in NCAA-sanctioned postseasons, the NCAA Tournament and the NIT. The CIT presented by BSN Sports was a longstanding tournament before COVID-19, running tournaments from 2009 to 2019. The 2024 field will be the revival of the 10-year event.

In the year following participating in the CIT, teams have demonstrated much success after the postseason exposure. Countless teams have had record-breaking seasons the following year, a history of success the Texans hope to replicate. In following year of the past 10 tournaments, 21 teams earned a berth to the NIT, 24 programs won their conference tournament with 25 teams earning a berth to the NCAA Tournament. Six teams have won a game in the NCAA Tournament after participating in the CIT.

Stephenville is no stranger to hosting postseason tournaments. Since 1988, Tarleton State has hosted 10 Division II and NAIA regional and district tournaments. In addition, Wisdom Gym hosted a 1992 NAIA National Tournament game. Tarleton last hosted a postseason tournament in 2015 when they hosted the NCAA South Central Regional Tournament where the Texans won the regional championship. Wisdom has hosted the South Central Regional four times, and the Purple and White own a 7-3 record in those games. Wisdom Gym has seen the Texans win two regional titles and four NAIA District 8 Championships. In all, the Texans are 19-4 in postseason games inside of Wisdom Gym.

Tarleton State had its best season in the D1 era with a 23-9 overall record and a program best 16-4 in conference play. Acting head coach Joseph Jones was named the WAC Coach of the Year after filling in for coach Gillispie after the fourth game this season. Jakorie Smith became the first Texan to earn First-Team All-WAC honors. Senior KiAndre Gaddy was named WAC Defensive Player of the Year and earned a selection to the WAC All-Defensive Team. The Texans reached the WAC Semifinals for the first time in program history.

General Admission tickets are on sale now. One-day passes for each round are $15, and for two-day passes that give access to all three games, tickets are $25. All Tarleton State students, faculty and staff receive free entry, but need to claim tickets. Tickets can be purchased and claimed here. For courtside and reserved tickets, season ticket members will be reached out to Monday morning for first priority/refusal before those seats are placed on sale, if any remain. 

The CIT presented by BSN Sports features four pods of four for 16 total teams. Each pod is a trophy round with the Texans partaking in the Lou Henson Classic. The legendary coach spent 21 seasons at the University of Illinois and is the program win leader with 421. In an 11-year span Henson guided the Fighting Illini to nine NCAA Tournaments including a seven-year spurt of consecutive appearances with at least a fifth seed. The College Basketball Hall of Fame Honoree passed away in 2020. Each of the four pods are named after a legendary coach and College Basketball Insider gives an award at the end of each year in honor of each coach. The Lou Henson Award is a yearly award given to the nation’s best mid-major player.

The winner of the Lou Henson Classic will advance to be one of the final four standing teams in the CIT. The semifinals and championship will be played the following week at campus sites to be determined.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.