The sixth-seeded College of Charleston men’s basketball team will trek to fourth-seeded Wichita State for the quarterfinals of the NIT to be held on Wednesday, March 23, at a time still to be announced at the Charles Koch Arena in Wichita, Kansas.
The Cougars (26-10) and the Shockers (26-8) will face off in a first-ever meeting between the two schools guided by two head coaches with a serendipitous connection in Bobby Cremins, who came out of a six-year retirement to coach the Cougars in 2006, and Gregg Marshall, who guided Winthrop to seven NCAA Tournament appearances prior to accepting the Wichita State position in April of 2007 in place of Mark Turgeon who left for Texas A&M.
Marshall spent eight years as an assistant coach under legendary CofC head coach John Kresse from 1988-96. In his time with the Cougars, they reached the NCAA Tournament in 1994 and the NIT twice in 1995 and 1996. In an ironic twist of fate, he accepted an offer to coach The College in June of 2006, but changed his mind after the introductory press conference and returned to Winthrop. Many compared his decision to Cremins’ decision to leave Georgia Tech in 1993 for his alma mater, South Carolina, only to change his mind and return to Tech. “We both flip-flopped,” Cremins said.
The game time and television information will be released after Monday night’s second-round NIT games by the NIT and ESPN. Both teams will vie for a coveted spot in the semifinals to be held at the world-famous Madison Square Garden in New York City on Tuesday, March 29.
The Cougars defeated second-seeded Cleveland State, 64-56, on March 19 in Cleveland, Ohio, while the Shockers upset top-seeded Virginia Tech, 79-76, in overtime on March 20 in Blacksburg, Va. Prior to the win over CSU, CofC had never advanced past the second round of a postseason tournament (NCAA or NIT) since its NAIA days under Kresse.