The excitement surrounding the Grand Canyon University’s basketball team in their first year at the division I level is far from over.
This week it was announced that they will be playing in the CIT (CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament) starting on Wednesday night against the University of Pacific at 7pm. The game will be at the old Antelope Gym because renovations to build an upper-deck inside GCU Arena has already begun.
“We had a chance to go other places to play but we thought we should stay right there on campus,” GCU Head Basketball Coach Dan Majerle told Brad Cesmat on Friday. “It will be an intimate setting, it’ll be packed, it’ll be a lot of fun and it will be a great atmosphere for the first postseason tournament for GCU as a Division I team.”
“This is a great first step,” he added. “We’ve had a great year this year. The big recruiting tool against us is we can’t play in the postseason. Well no one thought in our first year we would be playing in the postseason and that’s what we’re doing. So we are very excited about it.”
The CIT is a 32 team tournament and if the ‘Lopes win on Wednesday, there is the potential that they could host a second game as well. This isn’t a bracket tournament style event. After each game, the teams get shuffled so that matchup’s are more regional for easier travel. But before Majerle would get into any of that, he has his sights set on Pacific.
“They’re pretty good,” Majerle explained. “They’ve had some big-time wins. They beat BYU, the beat Fresno State, they play in a good conference. They are going to be a good team and a great test for us which is what we want.”
“I think it is going to help that we are playing in that small gym,” he mentioned. “It’s going to be full of purple jerseys and purple shirt rooting us on. So we are going to have to play really well because Pacific’s a good team, but it’s going to be a good test for our guys and they are excited.”
No matter the end result for GCU in the CIT, they are pleased with how year number one at the Division I level went. Going 15-14 and finishing third in the WAC Conference after being picked to finish last before the start of the season.
“I’m ecstatic,” Majerle stated. “It’s better than I expected and I think it is better than what anybody expected.”
While the season is not over yet, Majerle looks ahead to year two as the head coach and year two at the Division I level and cannot wait to get started.
“I know we are moving in the right direction,” he added. “We’ll have 20 home games next year, we have Kentucky and Indiana on our schedule on the road. Coming into GCU next year we have New Mexico, we have Tulsa, we have Harvard, we have Buffalo. We have some really good teams coming, so we are going to play a terrific schedule. It’s going to be an exciting time for Grand Canyon and it’s only going to get better.”
There are only about 1500 seats available in Antelope Gym so if you wish to be present at the first ever postseason game at the Division I level for GCU, you better act fast. They game will also once again be televised on Cox.