Marquette To Host South Alabama in Preseason NIT Opening-Round Contest

July 6, 2000

Milwaukee, Wis. -- The Marquette men's basketball team will host the Jaguars of South Alabama on Tuesday, November 14, in the opening round of the 2000 Preseason NIT. The game will be played at the Bradley Center with the tip off time being announced at a later date.

The 16-team tournament, now in its 16th year, will begin first-round action on Nov. 13th and 14th. Second-round games will take place on Nov. 15th, 16th and 17th. Early round games will be played at campus sites with the semifinal doubleheader and final doubleheader coming to New York's Madison Square Garden on Nov. 22nd and 24th.

The game against South Alabama promises to be an interesting one with USA coming off a 20-10 overall record that included a 13-3 won-lost slate in the Sun Belt Conference, good for a regular-season, first-place tie. The Jaguars, coached by Bob Weltlich (52-33 in 3 years at USA), welcome back four starters from a year ago including Virgil Stanescu, an All-Sun Belt Conference honoree last year after averaging a team-high 13.4 points and 6.9 rebounds. In addition, South Alabama boasts Milwaukee native and Messmer High graduate Ravonte Dantzler on its roster. The 6-foot-2 Dantzler garnered All-Sun Belt Conference honors last season after tossing in 12.3 points per outing.

"We are certainly excited about hosting a Preseaon NIT game and playing South Alabama will be a great challenge for our team," said Marquette Head Coach Tom Crean. "The school has outstanding basketball tradition and we always had great Sun Belt conference battles with them when I was at Western Kentucky. They are coming off an excellent year and have a great coach in Bob Weltlich."

Coach Crean will an experienced squad as well to work with eight letterwinners, including four starters, returning from last season's team that finished with an overall record of 15-14 while advancing to the NIT. Five of the top six point producers from '99-00 are back including second-team All-C-USA honoree Brian Wardle, the team's leading scorer (16.6 ppg), as well as the top three rebounders.

Should Marquette advance, it would play the winner of the Pepperdine-Indiana match up in the second round on Friday, November 17. The site of the game will be determined at a later date.

PRESEASON NIT PAIRINGS

Delaware at Temple (November 13)

George Mason at New Mexico (November 13)

Pepperdine at Indiana (November 14)

South Alabama at Marquette (November 14)

Mississippi State at California (Nov. 13)

Navy at Texas (Nov. 13)

Fairfield at Villanova (Nov. 14)

Princeton at Duke (Nov. 14)

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