Despite a 69-59 win over Incarnate Word to close out the regular season, the Wildcats postseason future was unclear. But on Wednesday afternoon the men found out their season would continue, as they accepted an invitation to the Collegeinsider.com Tournament (CIT).
ACU was knocked out of Southland Conference Tournament contention just 15 minutes after its game against UIW ended, as McNeese State defeated Lamar 69-60. Eventually it was Texas A&M-Corpus Christi leapfrogging both ACU and McNeese to grab the final spot in the Southland tournament.
Senior guard Drake Green said it was a good feeling to find out his career as a Wildcat will continue for at least one more week.
“After the Incarnate Word game we found out that the team we needed to lose actually won, so a lot of people were kind of down about that, but we moved past it,” Green said.”We were all really excited but also nervous because we never really knew what was going to happen, or how [the postseason] could work out because this is all new to all of us too, but it’s a good feeling to know that we are going to be able to play again and get to compete.”
The Wildcats finished the season with an overall record of 16-15 and secured a winning regular season record for the first time in the last 10 years. But the team will have an opportunity to add more entering its first Div. 1 postseason tournament.
The men finished the season in a little of a slump, falling in four of their last five, but head coach Joe Golding said the team is excited to begin a journey in which they control the narrative.
“Any time when you have a good season I think you want to be able to finish on your own terms,” Golding said. “Incarnate Word we were able to get the win but we didn’t get the rest of what had to happen for us to get to Katy. But now when you have the chance to go to postseason play, you control your own destiny. Now we know if we win we advance if we lose we go home, so we’re going to end this season on our terms now.”
The team will find out who it will play this weekend at the conclusion of the conference tournaments. The first games will be played Monday, March 12, with the championship game closing out month on the 30th.
ACU’s three biggest wins so far this season came over Bowling Green, Air Force and Texas State, all during the non-conference portion of the schedule. The Wildcats also defeated Sam Houston State during conference 75-72. The Bearkats are the fourth seed in the Southland Conference Tournament.
In last year’s CIT saw the Wildcats’ conference rival, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi make it to the championship game, before falling to St. Peter’s 62-61. This year is also the 10th anniversary of the tournament.