NJIT to play in its first-ever post-season national basketball tournament

By Jessica Mazzola | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on March 05, 2015

An artist rendering of the planned new NJIT events center.

 

NEWARK — NJIT's Division 1 men's basketball team will be playing in a post-season tournament for the first time.

Jim Engles, the coach of the only independent Division 1 team in the league, tweeted confirmation this week that his team will finally be taking part in March Madness. According to his tweet, the team accepted a bid into the CIT, CollegeInsider.com Tournament.

According to a post on the school's website this week, it will host the first game of the tournament on March 16. Its opponent is to be decided.

"I am so excited for the players in our program to have a chance to experience 'March Madness' in the CIT," Engles said in the school's announcement.

"You start the season with a goal of showcasing your program on a national stage. This CIT bid allows us to compete for a postseason championship in a national tournament."

The appearance will mark the Highlanders' first in a post-season tournament. Angela Lento, the co-founder of the website that sponsors the tournament, speculated that the move may help the team get into a conference.

"We are thrilled that NJIT will be a part of the 2015 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament," she said in the post.

"Head coach Jim Engles has done a phenomenal job again this season and should be a National Coach of the Year candidate. We hope the Highlanders' participation in the CIT will help their chances of getting into a conference."

The news comes a few weeks after school officials confirmed a plan to build a $100 million events center on its Newark campus. In addition to other functions, the building will serve as a home to the school's athletic teams, school officials said.

"We need to meet certain standards" to be admitted into a conference, New Jersey Institute of Technology President Joel Bloom told NJ Advance Media last month. "This arena will meet them."



"I think it could help," NJIT Athletic Director Lenny Kaplan said of whether or not the facility, slated to be opened in 2017, could help get the school into a conference.

"The conferences we've spoken to, the first thing they bring up to us is the facility."

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