Longwood men’s hoops accepts Roman CBI bid, hosts Southern Miss on Wednesday

Published 9:00 pm Tuesday, March 19, 2019

For the first time since making the jump to the NCAA Division I level 15 years ago, Longwood University is headed to the men’s basketball postseason, and a Sunday evening press release revealed the highly anticipated details related to this opportunity.

Officials in the release noted that following a breakthrough campaign under first-year Head Coach Griff Aldrich, Longwood (15-17) accepted a bid to the 2019 Roman College Basketball Invitational (CBI) and will host Conference USA regular-season runner-up University of Southern Mississippi (20-12) in the first round Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Willett Hall.

General admission tickets for the game are also on sale at www.LongwoodTickets.com, according to a Monday release.

Officials in the Monday release stated that Longwood faculty and staff will receive up to four free tickets and were able to secure those Tuesday between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in the lobby of Willett Hall on a first-come, first-serve basis. Any remaining tickets will be available for pickup at the CenturyLink Ticket Office in Willett Hall on Wednesday beginning at 6 p.m.

Ticket distribution for Longwood students will also begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the student entrance of Willett Hall, the Monday release continued. Students must present a valid Longwood ID to receive their ticket. Those tickets are also available on a first-come, first-serve basis to the first 700 students.

The release cited that general admission tickets are available for advance sale on www.LongwoodTickets.com. Children ages 5 and younger will receive free admission to the game.

Reserved seating tickets will be available for purchase on a walk-up basis on the day of the game, officials said.

Longwood season ticket holders will also receive complimentary tickets and can reserve those by contacting Assistant Director of Athletics Engagement Kylie Dyer at dyerka@longwood.edu or (434) 395-2352 before Wednesday at noon to reserve their seats, the Monday release stated. Seats not reserved by Wednesday at noon will be made available to the general public at 6 p.m. at the ticket office in Willett Hall.

As included in the Sunday release, the 2019 Roman CBI bracket can be viewed by clicking here.

The postseason invitation is the latest honor for a Longwood team that has won the second-most games in the school’s Division I era and achieved the program’s highest-ever spot in the national KenPom.com rankings, officials cited in the Sunday release. They continued by stating that this success has come in the first season under Aldrich, who was named one of 12 finalists for the Joe B. Hall National Coach of the Year award and leads all 55 newly hired Division I head coaches with an eight-win turnaround from a year ago.

“We are excited to have been invited to participate in the CBI and compete against Southern Mississippi in the first round of the CBI,” Aldrich said in the Sunday release. “It’s a significant milestone for our program to be playing in the postseason, and it will provide us with a great opportunity to further build a championship mindset and culture for Longwood basketball.

“In my first year at (University of Maryland-Baltimore County) UMBC, we played in a similar postseason tournament, and that opportunity certainly gave us valuable experience. It was no doubt a factor in helping the following year’s team win the America East and enjoy historic success.”

The first round of the 2019 CBI will take place March 19-20 at eight host sites, with the quarterfinals and semifinals moving to host sites of the remaining teams, the release stated. The quarterfinals take place March 25, and the semifinals will be held March 27-28. The bracket is reseeded after the first round, and the tournament is rebracketed after the quarterfinals. The CBI Championship game will be a best-of-three series that will air in its entirety on ESPNU from alternating host sites of the two remaining teams, April 1-5.

Officials said that the 2019 bid makes Longwood the fourth Big South program to compete in the CBI, joining Campbell University (2018), Gardner-Webb University (2015) and Radford University (2014, 2015). Those three programs have now combined for three Big South championships since 2018, including Radford’s 2018 tournament title, Campbell’s 2019 regular-season title and NCAA-bound Gardner-Webb’s 2019 tournament title.

Along with the aforementioned success of those three Big South peers, the Lancers’ participation in the CBI puts them in the company of many other programs who have used the tournament as a springboard to major success in subsequent seasons, officials stated.

The release noted that Longwood’s commonwealth neighbor Virginia Commonwealth University used a 2010 CBI Championship run to spark its rise to national relevance, following it up with an NCAA Final Four appearance in 2011 and seven consecutive NCAA Tournament berths. Nevada won the 2016 CBI, followed it with a trip to the 2017 NCAA Tournament and then reached the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2018. Loyola Chicago won the 2015 CBI title and three years later became an NCAA Tournament darling by reaching the 2018 Final Four. North Texas, the 2018 CBI Champion, and Wyoming, the 2017 Champion, both followed their respective CBI Championships with 20-win seasons the following year, as did former CBI runners-up San Francisco (2018) and UL Monroe (2015).

In the CBI, Longwood will have the opportunity to pad a 10-5 non-conference record that this year includes road wins at the University of Richmond, Fairfield University, The Citadel and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, officials said in the release. Those victories came as part of a historic first half of the season in which the 2018-19 Lancers reached double-digit wins faster than any Longwood team since 2000-01.

In hosting the first round, the Lancers will return to Willett Hall where they own a 9-5 record that is the program’s best since joining the Big South in 2012-13, officials highlighted. That record includes a 7-0 start on Jerome Kersey Court this season and an unbeaten 6-0 home record against non-conference foes.

The release concluded by stating that the 2000-01 Lancers team was Longwood’s last to reach the postseason, advancing to the NCAA Tournament on the back of Division II National Player of the Year Colin Ducharme.

Roman College Basketball Invitational Champions & Runners-Up

Year Champion Runner-Up
2008 Tulsa Bradley
2009 Oregon State UTEP
2010 VCU Saint Louis
2011 Oregon State Creighton
2012 Pittsburgh Washington State
2013 Santa Clara George Mason
2014 Siena Fresno State
2015 Loyola Chicago UL Monroe
2016 Nevada Morehead State
2017 Wyoming Coastal Carolina
2018 North Texas San Francisco

2019 Roman College Basketball Invitational Schedule

First Round (Tuesday-Wednesday, March 19-20)
Cal State Northridge at Utah Valley (Tuesday, 9 p.m.)
Southern Miss at Longwood (Wednesday, 7 p.m.)
Grand Canyon at West Virginia (Wednesday, 7 p.m.)
Howard at Coastal Carolina (Wednesday, 7 p.m.)
Stony Brook at South Florida (Wednesday, 7 p.m.)
Central Michigan at DePaul (Wednesday, 8 p.m.)
UAB at Brown (Wednesday, 7 p.m.)
Loyola Marymount at Cal Baptist (Wednesday, 10 p.m.)

Quarterfinals (Monday, March 25)
*Tournament is re-bracketed after quarterfinal round

Semifinals (Wednesday-Thursday, March 27-28)

Finals (Monday-Friday, April 1-5)
TBA (Best-of-three series)