Allen Vaughn over at TAG Sgf sort of stole my thunder here, with his “Why the CIT should matter to the MSU Bears.” It’s a good read, which is pretty much a given when it comes to the 417’s best part time MC/sports writer (way better flow than Lyndal Scranton).
It’s certainly worth nothing that Old Dominion, last year’s champ, pulled a first-round stunner, upsetting Notre Dame in a N0. 6 vs. No. 11 game. That’s certainly no guarantee for the Bears. Of the other 15 teams in the CIT last year, only Oakland made the field of 64 in 2010. There are plenty of reasons to think MO State could be next year’s ODU, or even Oakland, and having this young group together for a few more games could go a long way toward making that happen.
The angle I wanted to take, though, is that this tournament should matter to the fans. I was stunned to see some of the comments in the MSU Bear Nation forum. Most people were not just apathetic about getting tickets to see the Bears take on Middle Tennessee State, they almost seemed offended that they were going to have to pay $15 or $20 to see the game. Look, I know it’s not the NIT and I know times are tight, but postseason tournaments like the CIT and the CBI ask for a guarantee from host schools which, even after it’s paid for, still leaves the school to recoup its expenses.
Full disclosure, I haven’t gone to a CIT game. I’m either working or, in the case of tomorrow night, broke. But you also don’t hear me bellyaching about the prices. If I had a few dollars to spare, I’d be there making as much noise as possible. Not because they’re playing Creighton but because they’re the friggin’ Bears, man. It’s my team. I’d watch them play anybody and in my nearly 30 years attending games I think I’ve proven it.
MO State, to be fair, is doing something to help out, offering a Family Plan for the remaining postseason games. You get 4 bleacher tickets for $40. It’s not a cure-all, but it’s something to help get you in the door. This team has worked hard under Cuonzo Martin and have been a feel-good story for a basketball program that desperately needed one. Show them some support if you can afford it.
If you can’t, join me listening to Art’s call on KTXR or follow TAG Sgf’s live blog. Tip against Creighton is 7:05 p.m. March 24 in the Q. Winner plays for the championship March 30 on Fox Sports Net.
P.S. — You need something to make you excited about these Bears? Hit ’em Mr. Mallett!