CollegeInsider.com is announcing their eight annual CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT) starting March 14th that will broadcast on the CBS Sports Network for the fourth straight season. This year, the CIT will also host the inaugural John McLendon Classic which will be the first classic held in a post-season tournament in NCAA Division I history and will honor one of the best coaches in the history of college basketball.
The John McLendon Classic, will be held on March 14th as a first round game in the CIT and will air on the CBS Sports Network. The game will feature a representative of either Coach McLendon’s former team at Tennessee State University, the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) or the Mideastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). This guarantees the Classic will have at least one historically black college or university participating with the chance to advance to the CIT’s second round.
Serving as a celebration of historically black colleges and universities and their rich basketball tradition, the Classic will pay tribute to Coach McLendon and the legacy of some of the great pioneers of the game. At the conclusion of the game, there will be a trophy presented to the winning team and the Most Valuable Player will receive an award.
“We are very excited to announce the creation of the Coach John McLendon Classic, which recognizes one of the great coaches of all-time,” College Insider, Inc., President, Joe Dwyer said. “This game, which will be a permanent part of the first round of the CIT, has been in the works for a few years and it’s finally become a reality. A lot of thanks goes to Ryan Tressler and the good people at CBS Sports Network who helped us to make the Coach John McLendon Classic a reality.”
This year’s CIT features a 32-team field with all 31 games being played on the home court of the higher seed. The first round of the CIT will take place March 14th-16th followed by the second round March 18th-20th with the Quarterfinals March 22nd-24th. The Semifinals on March 27th will broadcast on the CBS Sports Network along with the Championship Game on March 29th. Additionally, all games will be streamed lived on SIDEARM Sports which is the #1 provider of college athletics.
Following 2016, the John McLendon Classic will be a permanent part of the CIT held annually during the nation’s premier postseason tournament for teams that do not participate in the NCAA Basketball Championships or the NIT Tournament. The John McLendon Classic will pay homage to legendary African American coaches such as Coach McLendon, former Southern coach Ben Jobe and former Winston Salem State coach Clarence “Big House” Gaines; all great men whose role in growing the game is often overlooked.
“John McLendon, one of college basketball’s greatest coaches and ambassadors, was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame as one of the game’s ‘Founding Fathers’ along with Adolph Rupp, Henry Iba and Forrest ‘Phog’ Allen,” said Reggie Minton, the deputy executive director of the NABC. “Like Allen, he learned the game from Dr. James Naismith at the University of Kansas and went on to become a trailblazer for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Coach McLendon’s great legacy of leadership will be perpetuated by the creation of the John McLendon Classic.”
In the last seven seasons, the CIT has provided abundant excitement while making college basketball history in the process. In 2009, Chris Roberts hit a 75-footer at the buzzer which was the longest game-ending shot in Division I postseason history that put Bradley into the semifinals. And, in 2010, the CIT featured Fairfield rallying from 27 points down with 16:08 remaining in the second half to advance to the second round making it the biggest comeback in Division I postseason history.
The CIT was created by CollegeInsider.com in 2009 in order to give deserving teams an opportunity to participate in the postseason. Since then, the CIT has had more schools make their postseason debut (25) and more programs win their first-ever postseason game (24) than all other tournaments combined. In addition, the CIT has produced three NBA Lottery picks and two Top 10 selections including Damian Lillard (6th overall in 2012) who was named 2012 NBA Rookie of the Year which marked the first time since 1955 that a tournament other than the NCAA Tournament had produced the NBA Rookie of the Year.
In 2012, CollegeInsider.com established the John McLendon award which is presented annually to the top coach at all levels of college basketball. The award encompasses Division I, Division II, Division III, NAIA and JUCO.
CollegeInsider.com was founded in 1996 with their online coverage dedicated exclusively to college basketball. In 1998, CollegeInsider.com created the Mid-Major Top 25 that has become the measuring stick for teams outside the power conferences and is now trademarked. Each year, CollegeInsider.com presents 17 national awards in basketball named after some of the greatest coaches in the history of the game including Clarence “Big House” Gaines, Lou Henson, John McLendon and Lute Olson. Since the inception of the CIT in 2009, the tournament has expanded from a 16-teams to 32-teams in 2012 which is currently the number of teams playing in the 2016 CIT. CollegeInsider.com has been nominated for four Emmy Awards and in 2013 won the New York Emmy Award in Sports Coverage for the Sportscast/Series category and was selected over top broadcast outlets such as MSG and SNY.