March 15, 2009
HOUSTON - The University of Houston men's basketball team accepted a bid to play in the 2009 College Basketball Invitational, director of athletics Dave Maggard and head coach Tom Penders announced late Sunday night.
The Cougars will face Oregon State at 9 p.m. (CDT), Wednesday, at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis, Ore. The winner of the Houston-Oregon State game advances to face the winner of the Green Bay-Vermont game in the CBI quarterfinals on March 23.
"I'm excited for the kids. It's all about the kids and wanting to play in the postseason. It's an opportunity to play another game, to play a meaningful game and gain the experience from that," Penders said. "This is a great opportunity for the University of Houston."
Although the Beavers bring a 13-17 overall record into the postseason, Penders said he expected a close ball game on Wednesday.
"They play a Princeton-style game. (Head coach) Craig Robinson was a great player as a Tiger, and he coached at Princeton, so they run that Princeton offense really well," Penders said. "They had some great wins this year and pulled some great upsets in the Pac-10. They were one of the surprise teams in that league. It's a very interesting match-up for us."
Picked to finish seventh in the Conference USA Preseason Coaches Poll and by many national basketball publications, the Cougars tied with UTEP for fourth in the final regular-season standings and advanced to the semifinals of the 2009 C-USA Tournament with a win against the Miners.
With a 21-11 overall record to date, the Cougars earned their third 20-win season in the last four years, all Penders. The Cougar coach will be leading the Cougars into their fourth postseason appearance during his five-year tenure and the 20th of this 35-year coaching career.
"This gives us extra practices and a game situation in the postseason. A lot of these guys just played in their first conference tournament, so that's one step. Now, we have a chance to play a postseason game," Penders said. "It gives them an opportunity to gain experience that you can't get just by working out in the gym.
This is the 29th postseason appearance for the Cougars in school history. It also marks the second straight season that the Cougars will compete at the College Basketball Invitational.
A year ago, the Cougars rattled off wins at Nevada and against Valparaiso before falling to Conference USA-rival Tulsa in the semifinals.
After competing in the inaugural College Basketball Invitational in 2008, Penders said he looked forward to another postseason appearance in that event.
"Last year, our experience in this tournament was great. It's a well-run tournament, and it's first class," Penders said. "The Gazelle Group handles some of the greater events in college basketball, like Coaches vs. Cancer.
The Gazelle Group is a sports marketing firm, specializing in event production and management, client representation and sponsorship consulting. Gazelle produces numerous nationally recognized events such as the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic and the Legends Classic. For more information on the Gazelle Group, please visit GazelleGroup.com.
RADIO / TV INFORMATION
Cougar Men's Basketball games can be heard live on 790 AM The Sports Animal or on the Internet at UHCougars.com with Tom Franklin calling the play-by-play action and Willis Wilson providing analysis. The pregame show is slated to begin 15 minutes before tip-off.
In addition, Wednesday's game can be seen live on HDNet (DirecTV ch. 306 / Dish Network ch. 9422) with Rich Cellini calling the play-by-play action and Craig Ehlo providing analysis. Fans should check their local listings to see if they receive HDNet, and more information about viewing the game on HDNet is listed below.
HDNet is the official broadcast home for the CBI. HDNet will broadcast up to 11 tournament games, including doubleheaders on March 17, March 18, March 23 and March 25.
Fans must have an HDTV and receiver box in addition to the high definition programming package from their cable or satellite provider. A full list of cable and satellite providers who carry HDNet can be found here.
HDNet is not yet carried on some Comcat or Cox cable systems.
If fans already receive HDNet as a high-definition channel choice, nothing more is needed nor additional purchases to make.
At a Restaurant
Most restaurants and sports bars that offer sports programming are served by either DirecTV or Dish Network. If that is the case (and they broadcast programming on HD sets), then they WILL have HDNET. A good rule of thumb is that, if the establishment has access to ESPN-HD, they they also carry HDNet.
Fans may want to call ahead to see if restaurants tune their HDTVs to channel 79 and/or 306 (DirecTV) or channel 9422 (Dish Network) for HDNet at that location.
Tickets for Wednesday's game go on sale at 10:30 a.m., Monday. Prices are $25 for chairback seating and $15 for bench seating. To order tickets, fans can purchase in person at the Oregon State Ticket Office or by calling 1-800-Go-Beavs.
Fans also can order online at OSUBeavers.com.