The CollegeInsider Tournament

BY foxsports • March 24, 2010

The Postseason Basketball Tournament is heading into an exciting final stretch with the semifinals set for Wednesday night, March 24th 2010 at 8pm ET on FCS Broadband. Appalachian State (24-10) will host Pacific (22-11) in one semifinal. Both teams won on the road in which ASU surprised Marshall, while Pacific slipped past Northern Colorado.

The other semifinal game will be an all-Missouri Valley Conference clash as Missouri State (22-12) will entertain Creighton (18-15). The winner of this game will host the CIT championship game next Tuesday, which will air live on Fox College Sports.

Pacific (22-11) at Appalachian State (24-10), Wednesday at 8pm ET
The Appalachian State Mountaineers have advanced to the CIT semifinals with a 22-point (93-71) first-round home win over Harvard last Wednesday and on Monday they defeated top-seeded Marshall in an impressive road triumph. The Mountaineers dealt Marshall just its fourth home loss of the season with an 80-72 win in Huntington, W. Va. The win was ASU’s 24th of the season, moving the squad within one of the program record, set in 2006-07.

Junior Donald Sims has been shooting lights out in the tourney, connecting on 10 of 21 three-point attempts and not missing a single free throw going 8 for 8 at the line. Through two games in the CIT, Sims is averaging 26 ppg for the Mountaineers. ASU is 13-3 at home and has not lost a game at the Holmes Center since Feb. 1, however that loss was to Division II King College.

Pacific, the Big West co-Regular Season Champions, held on for a 63-59 victory at Northern Colorado on Monday to advance to the CIT semifinal. In the tournament’s first round, Pacific defeated Loyola Marymount on the road, 86-76. Junior Sam Willard scored 23 points and grabbed 17 boards in the win over LMU. Willard leads the team in scoring (11.4) and rebounding (8.3 rpg) while shooting 48.8% from the field.

The Pacific Tigers are particularly dominant on the road (9-6) having won their last six road games. The Tigers have won 5-of-6 with the lone loss coming against Long Beach State. This will be the first ever meeting between the teams as Pacific and Appalachian State have never met on the hardwood.

Creighton (18-15) at Missouri State (22-12), Wednesday at 8pm ET
Creighton made its Missouri Valley Conference-record 13th straight postseason appearance earning a berth to the CIT. Although they had one of the worst records among the CIT teams, they haven’t faltered with impressive home wins over South Dakota (89-78) last Tuesday and Fairfield (73-55) on Monday to advance to the CIT Semifinals to face league rival Missouri State.

Center Kenny Lawson Jr. leads Creighton in scoring (12.9 ppg), rebounding (6.8 rpg) and blocks (1.4) per game while also knocking down 53.7 percent of his shots from the floor and 81.9 percent at the line. Creighton is guided by coach Dana Altman, who has over 325 wins through 16 seasons as head coach of the Bluejays. Creighton is 3-9 on the road but has won five of its last six games.

After struggling through an 11-20 season last year, Missouri State opened this campaign with 10 straight wins and is 22-12 after CIT victories at home over Middle Tennessee (87-79) and Louisiana Tech (69-40). Sophomore Kyle Weems leads the team in scoring (14.0 ppg), rebounding (6.1) and steals (1.4) per game, while also making 41.3 percent of his three-point shots. Backcourt duo Adam Leonard and Jermaine Mallet combine to average 23.6 ppg.

The Bears are quite impressive at home going 15-2 with its only losses at the JQH Arena being to Northern Iowa (55-54) on Jan. 30 and Wichita State (65-62) on Jan. 6. Creighton has won eight of the last nine meetings to claim a 30-23 lead over Missouri State in the series. Though Creighton has won three of its past four trips to Springfield, Missouri State still leads 16-7 in games played in Springfield.

Don’t forget to catch the CIT Championship Game live next Tuesday night on FCS Pacific.

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