Even without a ‘Big Dance’ invite, Loyola & DePaul men’s basketball have a postseason

CHICAGO – Last year, their run to the Final Four was one of the great college basketball stories of this decade. But this season, Loyola will be a spectator when it comes to the “Big Dance” over the next few weeks.

Unable to win their Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, and not having the resume outside of a regular season title to get them an at-large bid, the Ramblers will have to settle for the NIT in 2019.

Porter Moser’s team received a seventh-seed in the tournament, and his first opponent is one he’s quite familiar with. It’s his Alma Mater Creighton, who’ll host Loyola on Tuesday in Omaha at 8 PM. It’s the fifth time the Ramblers has been in the NIT but the first since 1980, when the lost in the first round to Illinois. In 1939 and 1949, the team reached the championship of the tournament but lost to Long Island and San Francisco, respectively.

This is the third postseason tournament that Loyola has gone to under Moser, with the team also winning the CBI back in 2015.

Speaking of the CBI, an invite to that tournament for DePaul has ended a long postseason tournament drought for the school.

On Wednesday, they’ll take part in their first tourney game of any kind since 2007 when they host Central Michigan on campus at McGrath-Phillips Arena at 7 PM. This game will not be played at their usual home of Wintrust Arena.

The 16-team tournament features a first round, quarterfinals, then semifinals like the other tournaments, but decides a winner during a three-game final series that will be played April 1-5.

Dave Leitao’s team is the first to take part in the postseason at the school since the 2007 Blue Demons went to the quarterfinals of the NIT. They do so after finishing at .500 mark (15-15) for the first time since that season, having never won more than 12 games in that span. DePaul hasn’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 2004 during Leitao’s first stint at the school.

Bradley, who won the MVC Tournament, will be the State of Illinois’ only representative in the NCAA Tournament.

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