MEN’S HOOPS’ HISTORIC SEASON WILL CONTINUE WEDNESDAY AT THE CIT

MEN’S HOOPS’ HISTORIC SEASON WILL CONTINUE WEDNESDAY AT THE CIT

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- For the first time in the program's Div. I era, and first time since 1988, the Sacramento State men's basketball program has qualified for the postseason and will make its first-ever appearance at the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT).

Sacramento State will travel north to face Portland on Wednesday, March 18, at 7:05 p.m. in the first round of the tournament. The Hornets and Pilots played each other earlier this year at the Nest on Dec. 14 in a game that went down to the wire and saw Portland pull out an 80-75 victory.

The postseason appearance for Sacramento State will be its first since the 1987-88 team qualified for the NCAA Div. II Tournament. In addition, the postseason appearance will be just the fifth in program history (1948-pres.), as the team also qualified for the NCAA Div. II Tournament in 1959, 1962 and 1970.

Sacramento State was able to earn a CIT berth after putting forth easily the best season in its Div. I era (1991-pres.), and one of the best seasons in program history. The Hornets, who are 20-11, posted their first record above .500 in the Div. I era, won their most conference games (13) in school history, and lost on Friday night in the Big Sky Tournament semfinals to eventual conference champion Eastern Washington. In addition, the Hornets' 20 wins are the third most in school history.

Portland is currently 17-15 overall, and finished in a tie for sixth place in the West Coast Conference standings with a 7-11 league mark. The Pilots defeated Saint Mary's in the WCC Tournament quarterfinals before falling to BYU in the semifinals. Portland will be hosting a postseason game for the first time in its program's history, and this will mark the fourth time in seven years the Pilots have played in the CIT (2009, 2010, 2011).

In its seventh year of existence, the CIT consists of a 32-team field made up of non-BCS programs that were not selected to the NCAA Tournament or the NIT (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 12 and SEC teams are not considered). All 31 games during the tournament are played on campus sites, with future round opponents determined by results of the previous round.

Currently ranked 21st in the nation in the CollegeInsider.com Mid Major poll, Sacramento State finished in a tie for third place in the Big Sky standings with a 13-5 record, and was the only team in the conference to finish with a perfect home record (9-0) during league play. In fact, Sacramento State finished with the program's second best winning percentage in home games in school history (13-1, .929). That one loss was the nail-biting defeat against Portland.

Led by the Big Sky co-Coach of the Year Brian Katz, the Hornets finished just one game back in Big Sky standings, narrowly missing out on winning its first conference championship since 1977 and hosting the conference tournament.

What makes Sacramento State's record even more remarkable is, entering the season, the Hornets had just three winning seasons in the last 38 years, including zero during the Div. I era. The Hornets have improved their conference record every season of Katz's seven-year tenure with the program. In addition, this year's squad features the program's first conference MVP (Mikh McKinney) since 1977, and the program's first player to receive all-Big Sky recognition four times (Dylan Garrity).

The official CIT tournament website is www.2015CIT.com. Schedules, results and all other tournament information will be updated regularly. Fans can interact on Twitter using hashtag #2015CIT and following @CollegeInsider.

Tournament Information
Opening Round: March 17-18
Second Round: March 20-21
Quarterfinal Round: March 24-25
Semifinal Round: March 30
Championship Game: April 1

Format: The CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament is a single-elimination tournament, consisting of five rounds, all games played on on-campus sites, which will be determined by seeding. Bracketing will be done geographically into multiple regions of the country to minimize travel and missed class time. Brackets will be balanced competitively within each region.

Coverage: CBS Sports Network will broadcast the semifinals on Monday, March 30, 2015 and the championship game of the CIT on Wednesday April 1. Video streaming of the game will be made available for free at PortlandPilots.com. The game will be broadcast live on the radio at KTKZ 1380 AM and streamed via hornetsports.com with Steve McElroy providing the play-by-play.