Yale (18-13) at Virginia Military (22-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, April 1, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Cameron Hall (5,800) -- Lexington, Virginia. Television: CBS Sports Network. CIT Record: Yale 3-1, VMI 3-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The first of two CollegeInsiders.com Tournament semifinal matchups will feature the Yale Bulldogs traveling to face the VMI Keydets with a shot at making the tournament's championship game on the line.
The winner will take on either Pacific or Murray State for the tournament title.
Yale has been able to take down opponents in the first three rounds of the CIT, having defeated intrastate rival Quinnipiac, Holy Cross and most recently Columbia, 72-69, to earn the semifinal berth.
VMI, which sports the nation's best scoring offense, has used that firepower to get by the first three opponents in the CIT. The Keydets scored 111 points against Canisius in the first round, then dropped 106 on IPFW, and finally beat Mid-American Conference power Ohio, 92-90, to advance to the semifinal round.
This contest between Yale and VMI will mark the first time these teams have ever met on the basketball court.
Against fellow Ivy League competitor Columbia, Yale needed some Javier Duren heroics to squeeze through to the next round. Duren scored 26 of his career- high 33 points in the second half to help Yale hold on for the three-point win. Duren added nine rebounds and three assists to his stat line in the game. Justin Sears hit 8-of-12 from the field in the win to score 17 points for the Bulldogs. Yale shot an impressive 53.2 percent from the field.
Duren's 33-point outburst against Columbia certainly helped boost his scoring average on the season, but the junior still trails Sears in the scoring category. Sears tops the team with a 16.9 ppg mark, hitting 51.4 percent of his field goal tries on the year. Sears also leads the Bulldogs with 7 rpg and 2 bpg, and adds 1.4 apg. Duren checks in at second on the team in scoring at 13.3 ppg, and dishes out a team-best 3.0 apg. Yale's scoring offense hasn't been spectacular this season at just 67 ppg, but the Bulldogs have held opponents to 66.3 ppg through 31 games played.
VMI looked to be in trouble early against Ohio in the quarterfinal round of the CIT, as the Keydets found themselves down by 17 points with just under eight minutes to play in the first half. But thanks in large part to Rodney Glasgow, who scored 30 points in the contest, VMI was able to erase that deficit and take a double-digit lead of its own in the second frame. Glasgow led the Keydets with his 30 points, and added five assists. D.J. Covington netted 29 points and pulled down a team-best 11 rebounds for a double-double, and Brian Brown chipped in 10 points for VMI.
The Keydets boast the nation's top scoring offense entering this contest, averaging 89 points per outing.That high-octane scoring offense has come at a price, as the team struggles defensively, allowing a generous 82.8 ppg to opponents. The Keydets let Canisius score 100 in the first round of the CIT, then gave up 95 to IPFW and 90 to Ohio. Three players for VMI average over 18 points per contest this season, led by Covington's 20.2 ppg. His 9.4 rpg and 101 blocked shots on the year are both team bests as well. QJ Peterson checks in with 19.4 ppg, and Glasgow chips in 18.8 ppg for the Keydets.
Yale has done well to get to this point in the tournament, but going against such a dangerous scoring offense on the road will be extremely tough to top. Even if VMI gives up over 80 points per outing, the Bulldogs simply don't have the offensive firepower to keep up.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Virginia Military 94, Yale 83
04/01 10:33:55 ET