The 2011 NIT Basketball Tournament gets underway tonight with both the Cleveland St. Vikings and Kent St. in action. CSU will host Vermont while Kent State will travel out west to take on St. Mary's. Both games can be seen online at ESPN3.com, with Kent State getting the ESPN2 treatment as well.
Here is the complete schedule of first-round action topping off tonight:
7:00PM et: (7)Vermont Catamounts(23-8) At (2)Cleveland St. Vikings(26-8) - ESPN3
The Vikings can make up for a disappointing end of their season by making a run in the NIT. That run starts tonight against Vermont at the Wolstein Center. Both teams are NCAA Tournament-caliber squads that fell short in their conference tournaments. Cleveland State fell to Butler 76-68 while Vermont was upset by Stony Brook after a 13-3 conference record.
11:00PM et: (7)Kent St. Golden Flashes(23-11) At (2)St. Mary's Gaels - ESPN2
The Flashes were rolling through the MAC Tournament before blowing a 10-point lead to Akron in the final, losing to the Zips 66-65 in overtime. Saint Mary's lost to rival Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference finals after an 11-3 conference record. This is a tough matchup for Kent, having to get over the loss to Akron, then travel to the West Coast.
The rest of the first-round schedule looks like this:
8:00PM et: (6)Murray St. Racers(23-8) At (3)Missouri St. Bears(25-8) - ESPN3