FIRST ROUND OF CIT - MEN'S HOOPS AT PORTLAND ON WEDNESDAY

FIRST ROUND OF CIT - MEN'S HOOPS AT PORTLAND ON WEDNESDAY

Sacramento State Game Notes (pdf) - 27 pages

FIRST DIV. I-ERA POSTSEASON APPEARANCE FOR THE HORNETS

• Fresh off a Big Sky Tournament semifinal appearance, Sacramento State (20-11) will compete in the CIT (CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament) for the first time ever on Wednesday at Portland (17-15). Tip-off at the Chiles Center is set for 7:05 p.m.
• The postseason appearance is the first for Sacramento State during the program's Div. I era (1991-pres.), and first since the team competed at the 1988 NCAA Div. II Tournament.
• In addition, the postseason appearance is the fifth in program history (1948-pres.), as the team also qualified for the NCAA Div. II Tournament in 1959, 1962 and 1970.
• 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.
• All 31 games during the tournament are played on campus sites, with future round opponents determined by results of the previous round.
• The Hornets were able to earn a CIT berth after putting forth easily the best season in its Div. I era (1991-pres.). The team posted their first record above .500 during the Div. I era, won their most conference games (13) in school history, and reached 20 wins for just the third time ever.
• 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 beat Portland State in the Big Sky Tournament quarterfinals before falling in the semifinal round to eventual conference champion Eastern Washington.

THE MATCHUP -- HORNETS VS. PORTLAND

• Sacramento State and Portland played each other at the Nest during the regular season with Portland pulling out an 80-75 victory on Dec. 14 in a game that went down to the wire.
• That marked the only loss of the season at home for the Hornets, as Sacramento State finished the year 13-1 inside the Nest, including a 9-0 mark against Big Sky opponents.
• The Hornets had two possessions to take the lead in the game's final minute. However, the Hornets turned the ball over on both those possessions, including a miscue while the team was running a 3-on-2 break with under 15 seconds to play.
• Sacramento State used a 9-2 run spanning just under two and a half minutes to cut the deficit to 76-75 with 1:11 to play.
• Senior guard Mikh McKinney had an incredible game. The Big Sky's Player of the Year finished the game with 32 points, seven rebounds, eight assists and seven steals while playing all but one minute of the contest. The seven steals were tied for the third most in Sacramento State single-game history.
• McKinney was joined in double figures by sophomore Eric Stuteville (14 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field and 6-of-8 from the free throw line) and Dylan Garrity (11 points).
• In a series which dates back to the 1954-55 season, Sacramento State is 1-9 all-time against Portland. The Hornets have never defeated the Pilots in Portland (0-6).
• Sacramento State's lone win the series came via 62-59 victory at Memorial Auditorium on Dec. 30, 1999.
• 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).

RADIO/VIDEO STREAM/LIVE STATS OF THE TOURNAMENT

• The CIT is offering live and free video of every tournament game. Wednesday's game can be watched via www.watchcollegeinsider.com by clicking here.
• The game will be aired live on the radio at KTKZ 1380 AM with play-by-play announcer Steve McElroy on the call.
• Fans outside the Sacramento area can listen to all games via www.hornetsports.com or on the iHeart Radio application for mobile devices.
• Live stats of the game will be provided by Portland's website by clicking here.

ROAD WEARY HORNETS

• Wednesday's game at Portland will mark the fourth straight week the Hornets have played away from home. Between trips to Portland, Cedar City (UT), Flagstaff (AZ) and Missoula (MT), and the grueling ways to reach some of those locations, the Hornets have logged 4,117 travel miles in the last three weeks. Tack on 958 more miles by the time this week's trip is done, and you have 5,075 miles logged over a four-week span.

McKINNEY MVP, GARRITY 2ND TEAM, KATZ COACH OF THE YEAR

• Senior guards and team co-captains Mikh McKinney and Dylan Garrity, who are one of the best back courts on the Mid Major level, both received all-Big Sky recognition
• McKinney was named Big Sky MVP, becoming the first Hornet to receive MVP honors since Nate Robinson was the Far Western Conference co-Player of the Year in 1977.
• Garrity was named to the second team. He received honorable mention accolades his first three year, and becomes the first Hornet to receive all-Big Sky recognition four times.
• McKinney was also a unanimous first team selection for the second straight year, and becomes the first Hornet to receive first team all-Big Sky accolades on more than one occasion.
Brian Katz was named the Big Sky Conference's Co-Coach of the Year, sharing the award with Eastern Washington's Jim Hayford.
• Katz becomes the first to receive Big Sky Coach of the Year honors since the program joined the league in 1996, and the first Hornet coach in the Div. I era (1991-pres.).

NOTABLES ON THE SEASON

• Sacramento State had a pair of opportunities to win the program's first-ever Big Sky title and first conference championship since 1977. However, the Hornets lost two nail-biting road games at Southern Utah (69-65) and Northern Arizona (70-68) during the final week of the regular season.
• Had the Hornets won either of those games, Sacramento State would have won the Big Sky regular season title while earning the No. 1 seed and the right to host the Big Sky Tournament.
• Instead, Sacramento State traveled to Missoula, Mont., for the Big Sky Tourney where the Hornets beat Portland State in the quarterfinals (70-60) before losing to eventual tournament champion Eastern Washington (91-83) in the semifinals.
• Currently ranked 21st in the nation in the CollegeInsider.com Mid Major poll, the Hornets' 20 victories are the third most in program history.
• At 20-11, Sacramento State easily has its most wins in the Div. I era, and most since the 1987-88 Div. II squad posted a 22-8 record.
• The 13 Big Sky wins are the most since joining the league in 1996, and no Hornet squad in program history (regardless of conference) had ever won 13 league games.
• What makes the Hornets' record so remarkable is, entering the year, the Hornets had just three winning seasons in the last 38 years, and zero since joining Div. I in 1991.
• The Hornets went 13-1 at home, and were the only Big Sky team to go undefeated at home in league play (9-0).
• The team's winning percentage at home (.929) is the second best in program history (1948-pres.), trailing the 1961-62 squad's perfect 12-0 home record.

HORNETS IN POSTSEASON PLAY

• Wednesday will mark just the program's fifth postseason appearance (four NCAA Div. II appearances), and first during the Div. I era (1991-pres.).
• Sacramento State has not appeared in the postseason (other than conference tournaments) since the 1987-88 squad qualified for the NCAA Div. II Tournament.
• The Hornets are 4-7 all-time in postseason play, with all four wins coming in the 1962 NCAA Tournament when the team finished as College Division national runner-ups after losing to Mount Saint Mary's in overtime, 58-57, in the national championship game.
• Sacramento State is looking for its first postseason win since a double overtime 74-73 win against Nebraska Wesleyan on March 16, 1962, in the national semifinals.
• The Hornets went 4-1 at the 1962 NCAA Tournament, and 0-2 in the tournaments in 1959, 1970 and 1988.
• Among those seven losses were four decided by five points or less.

A PROFICIENT SHOOTING TEAM FROM EVERYWHERE

• Sacramento State is one of just five teams in the nation to rank among the top 10 squads in both field goal percentage (9th, .486) and 3-point percentage (6th, .408).
• In addition, the team is 36th in the nation in free throw percentage (.735).
• The Hornets have shot at least .500 from the field on 14 occasions this year, and are 12-2 in those games. In addition, the Hornets have shot better than .590 four times.
• The program record for single-season field goal percentage is .491 (1985-86), and 3-point field goal percentage is .418 (1987-88).

LEAN YEARS IN THE REAR-VIEW MIRROR

• To put the Hornets' 20-11 and 13-5 records into context, one has to understand how far the program has come this season after some dubious years in the Div. I era.
• Since joining the Div. I ranks prior to the 1991-92 season, the Hornets had never finished with an overall record above .500.
• Prior to this season, Sacramento State's overall record in the Div. I era was 189-475 (.269 winning percentage), and 86-211 (.266) in Big Sky Conference play.
• At one point, the Hornets lost 34 straight games, from 1997 until 1999.

PLENTY OF CLOSE GAMES

• The Hornets are 5-2 in games decided by three points or less, 7-4 in games decided by five points or less, and 11-5 in games decided by single digits.
• Of the Hornets' 13 conference wins, nine came by eight points or less.

TAKING CARE OF THE BALL

• The Hornets' 339 turnovers are the 26th fewest in the nation, and the team's average of 10.9 turnovers per game is 40th best in the nation.
• The Hornets' average of 9.4 turnovers per game in conference play is easily the best mark in the Big Sky.
• The team's average of 10.9 turnovers per game is 40th best in the nation.
• Sacramento State's +1.31 assist-to-turnover ratio is the 32nd best mark in the nation.

IMPROVEMENT EVERY YEAR UNDER COACH KATZ

• Sacramento State has improved its conference record every year since head coach Brian Katz took over the program prior the 2008-09 season.
• After going 1-15 during Katz's first season in 2008-09, the Hornets went 3-13 in 2009-10, 4-12 in 2010-11, 5-11 in 2011-12, 8-12 in 2012-13, and 10-10 last year.

GETTING IT DONE IN THE CLASSROOM

• During the fall semester, the Hornets posted a cumulative grade point average of 3.150, the best mark for men's basketball in school history.
• Of the 21 Hornets that have expired their eligibility under Katz, 19 have graduated.

TWO 1,000 POINT SCORERS ON THE SAME SQUAD

• Earlier this season, senior guards Dylan Garrity and Mikh McKinney became the 12th and 13th players, respectively, in school history to score 1,000 career points.
• The two are currently within 63 points of each other as McKinney is fifth in school history with 1,434 points and Garrity is sixth with 1,371 points.
• McKinney needs just 14 point to move past former All-American Lynn Livie into fourth place. If that happens, the third-year senior would rank as the program's all-time leading scorer among Hornets that did not play four years with the program.

McKINNEY THE PROGRAM'S FIRST BIG SKY MVP

• The program's first-ever Big Sky MVP, and a program-record four-time Big Sky Player of the Week selection, Mikh McKinney is averaging 19.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 2.6 steals and 37.0 minutes per game while shooting .514 (207-403) from the field, .439 (61-139) from the 3-point line and .794 (104-131) from the free throw line.
• A team-best +132 in plus/minus ratio, and the first Hornet to be named to the Lou Henson Mid-Major Player of the Year Watch List, he ranks among the nation's top 60 players in 10 different categories, including sixth in steals per game.
• His field goal percentage (.514) is the sixth best mark in the nation among guards.
• Has scored at least 14 points in 17 straight games, at least 11 points in 28 straight games, and has gone over the 20-point mark on 14 occasions.

GARRITY THE FACE OF THE TRANSFORMATION OF HORNET HOOPS

• Fourth-year senior Dylan Garrity has established himself as the face of the transformation of Sacramento State basketball from an afterthought to a title contender.
• The Hornets have improved their conference record all four years of Garrity's career, and he is Sacramento State's all-time leader in assists (524), games started (114), total minutes played (3,925) and total games played (117).
• He is currently averaging 13.7 points, 2.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.0 steals per game while shooting .459 (136-296) from the field, .401 (75-187) from the 3-point line and .830 (78-94) from the free throw line. He also has a plus/minus ratio of +109.