Trojans’ postseason hopes still alive

Published 10:49 pm Thursday, March 12, 2009

When the Troy Trojans lost to the South Alabama Jaguars in the quarterfinals of the Sun Belt Tournament it looked like the Trojans season was finished, but the men of Troy may still have life after all.

“There is a chance we could play in a postseason tournament,” Troy head coach Don Maestri said. “And that would be something great for this special group of guys we have here.”

The Trojans lost 78-75 in Hot Springs, Ark. March 8 to the Jaguars, a team they had beaten twice in the regular season. But the Trojans (19-12) still have the possibility of playing in the second annual College Basketball Invitational or the inaugural Postseason Tournament.

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Both of these tournaments are 16-team tournaments that will select their fields after the NCAA Tournament and NIT Tournament fields are decided Sunday evening.

“This would be a good thing for us,” Maestri said. “We have a bunch of players coming back next year and it would be good for them to get postseason experience. We also have a chance to host a game if we get it. This would be great exposure for Troy University.”

The addition of the CBI and CIT tournaments has allowed 129 Division I basketball teams to compete in the postseason.

Three of Troy’s players are each ranked in the Top-40 in certain categories. Brandon Hazzard is ninth in the nation in three-point percentage at 44.6 percent, Michael Vogler is tied for 24th with 166 assists and Tom Jervis is tied for 32nd with 66 total blocks.

“Our guys have gained recognition and we have submitted information to the NIT, the CBI and the CIT,” Maestri said. “I just hope one comes to pass and we will know Sunday night.”

Maestri said this is a great way to get more exposure for the university.

“It is exciting that people are looking at Troy University basketball,” he said. “Going to a postseason tournament in basketball is like going to a bowl game in football. It is a reward for the players and the fans.”

Maestri and the Trojans will find out whether they got that reward Sunday night after the field of 65 is picked for the NCAA Tournament.

If the Trojans are selected for the NIT, CBI or the CIT the first round will be March 17 on campus sites with the possibility of a game in Troy.