Cowboys to Play Toledo in CIT

McNeese State has accepted an invitation to play in the CollegeInsider post season basketball tournament and will  play at Toledo on Tuesday night.

The game will be played at 7 p.m. on the Toledo campus in Savage Arena.

A total of 32 teams will play in the single elimination tournament that is in its fourth season.  There will be six rounds of play including a second round with the top four remaining seeded teams receiving a bye.  Semifinal games are scheduled for March 23-24 with the finals to be played March 28.

The chairman of the CollegeInsider basketball tournament selection committee is Riley Wallace, the former Hawaii and Centenary head coach.

"This is exciting for our team," said Cowboy head coach Dave Simmons of his team's selection. "We're very happy to be extending our season and glad for our seniors, especially Daniel Richard and Rudy Turner who could not play in our conference championship game Saturday.

"We had been taking inventory and closing out everything when we got the call.  It's a great tribute to our players and our university."

McNeese, which bowed to Lamar in the finals of the Southland Conference tournament on Saturday with Richard and Turner missing the game because of medical reasons, will pit its 17-15 record against the 18-16 mark of Toledo, a member of the Mid-American Conference.

The two schools have never met on the basketball floor before but have played in football.

Toledo produced the second best turnaround in the nation this season, having gone 4-28 a year ago.  The team is led by Rian Pearson who is averaging 16.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game.  Other double figure scorers on the team are Curtis Dennis at 12.6 points per game and Julien Brown with an 11.9 average.

Both the 6-9 Richard and the 6-9 Turner are expected to be able to play on Tuesday.

This will be the second straight post season appearance by the Cowboys.  Last year they played in the NIT, bowing to Boston College in the opening round.

If McNeese wins its first round game, the Cowboys are expected to be paired against the Rice-UL Lafayette winner in the second round.

Senior forward Patrick Richard has been the team's scoring leader the entire season and wound up leading the SLC with an 18.1 average with 580 points.  Point guard Dontae Cannon is averaging 11.6 points per game and Jeremie Mitchell 10.8.

Turner had an 8.4 scoring and a team leading 6.6 rebounding mark, Daniel Richard led in blocked shots with 33 and freshman Desharick Guidry, who started, averaged 6.2 points and 5.5 rebounds.

As a team the Cowboys averaged 67 points per game and gave up 65.9.  They outrebounded opponents 36.4 to 35.1 per game.