Women’s soccer: Heatley on favored FDU squad

Warwick graduate Tara Heatley is a junior midfielder for the Fairleigh Dickinson women’s soccer team. The Knights were voted as the preseason favorite to repeat as champion in the Northeast Conference.
Heatley has played 17 matches the past two seasons for the Knights.

Minisink Valley grad Jenn Peters is a red-shirt junior for LIU Brooklyn, which was picked eighth. Peters, the 2013 NEC rookie of the year, sat out last season.

The NEC poll (first-place votes in parenthesis):
1. Fairleigh Dickinson — 55 points (3)
2. Central Connecticut — 53 (4)
3. Robert Morris — 51
4. Saint Francis Pa. — 47 (1)
5. Bryant — 40 (1)
6. Sacred Heart — 23
7. Wagner — 22
8. LIU Brooklyn — 20
9 Mount St. Mary’s — 13

Fairleigh Dickinson will play at Army on Sept. 18 at 1 p.m.
O’Neill product Carly Tice just graduated from FDU. She had been an all-star striker and top point producer for the Knights (16-6 last year). Tice had 11 goals and 30 points in her senior season.

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Army men’s basketball: Schedule opens at Oregon

By Ken McMillan
Times Herald-Record

WEST POINT – Jimmy Allen will make his debut as Army’s men’s basketball coach against one of the toughest foes the Black Knights have ever faced.
Allen and his revamped lineup will open the 2016-17 season on Nov. 11 at the University of Oregon, the defending Pac-12 Conference champion and an NCAA Elite Eight participant. Some preseason polls have the Ducks (31-7 last season) as a top-10 team.
“With the exception of Duke two years ago, who ended up winning the national championship, this is the most talented team we’ve played in the last six years,’’ Allen said. “I probably would prefer not to play them in the very first game of the year. … It will be a unique experience for sure. We will have to be tough and go out there and see what we can do.’’
The rest of the non-league slate – scheduled long before Allen took over from new LaSalle coach Zach Spiker in the spring – is no easy task either. Conference regular-season champs Monmouth (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) and Saint Bonaventure (Atlantic 10) are scheduled, and potentially Chattanooga (Southern) in a West Point mini-tourney. Conference runner-ups include Fairleigh Dickinson and Saint Francis-Brooklyn (Northeast).
In all, there are five 20-win foes, six more with winning overall records and nine teams with 2016 postseason experience.
Newburgh’s Mount Saint Mary of the Skyline Conference will open the Army home schedule on Nov. 15. This is the eighth consecutive season an NCAA Division III team has made the Army schedule. The Black Knights have swept those outings, beating Mount Saint Vincent, Vassar, Marywood, Rosemont, Coast Guard (twice) and Ferrum.
Army-Oregon is an “opening game” of the Maui Invitational, but Army is not part of the championship bracket. The Black Knights will host a regional tournament as part of the invitational, with Chattanooga, Central Arkansas and a third team to be determined coming to West Point for a mini-tourney on the weekend of Nov. 19-20.
Fairleigh Dickinson (Nov. 30), Saint Francis-Brooklyn (Dec. 3), Air Force (Dec. 7) and Binghamton (Dec. 21) visit Christl Arena. Army travels to Columbia (Nov. 23), Fairfield (Nov. 26), Monmouth (Dec. 10) and Saint Bonaventure (Dec. 19). Monmouth features Kingston graduate Justin Robinson, an All-American candidate at guard.
The 27th season of Patriot League play opens Dec. 30 when Lehigh visits. The home rematch with surprise champion Holy Cross comes Jan. 18, followed by a visit by Navy on Jan. 21. Army travels to Annapolis, Md., on Feb. 18.
Allen said the Oregon and Saint Bonaventure games represent the on-going efforts to schedule schools from high-major conferences. Army faced Tennessee and George Washington last season, USC and Duke in 2014-15, Notre Dame and Rutgers in 2013-14 and Penn State and Texas A&M in 2012-13.
Army finished 19-14, after getting upset in the Patriot League semifinals by Holy Cross and losing to New Jersey Institute of Technology in the opening round of the CollegeInsider.com tournament – that was the Black Knights’ first postseason event since the 1978 National Invitation Tournament. Army graduated seven seniors who had the lion’s share of minutes and production for the past four seasons.
“Obviously, we’re striving to continue to have success in our program,’’ said Allen, who has been on Army’s staff for seven seasons. “We’re going to have some guys step up and do that but we’re excited about having the opportunity to do it and grow as a team.’’

Twitter: @KenMcMillanTHR

2016-17 schedule
Fri. 11 – Maui Invitational opener, at Oregon (31-7, 14-4 Pac 12, first; NCAA elite eight)
Tues. 15 – Mount Saint Mary (8-17, 6-14 NCAA Div. III Skyline)
Sat. 19-Sun. 20 – Maui Invitational, at West Point: Chattanooga (29-6, 15-3 Southern, first), Central Arkansas (7-21, 6-12 Southland, tie-ninth) and TBD (fourth foe and schedule to be determined)
Wed. 23 – at Columbia (25-10, 10-4 Ivy, third; College Insider champion)
Sat. 26 – at Fairfield (19-14, 12-8 Metro Atlantic, tie-fourth; College Insider first round)
Wed. 30 – Fairleigh Dickinson (18-15, 11-7 Northeast, tie-second; NCAA first four)
Sat. 3 – Saint Francis, N.Y. (15-17, 11-7 Northeast, tie-second)
Wed. 7 – Air Force (14-18, 5-13 Mountain West, tenth)
Sat. 10 – at Monmouth (28-8, 17-3 Metro Atlantic, first; NIT second round)
Mon. 19 – at Saint Bonaventure (22-9, 14-4 Atlantic 10, tie-first; NIT first round)
Wed. 21 – Binghamton (8-22, 5-11 America East, sixth)
Fri. 30 – Lehigh* (17-15, 13-5 Patriot, second)
Mon. 2 – at Bucknell* (17-14, 14-4 Patriot, first; NIT first round)
Thur. 5 – at Lafayette* (6-24, 3-15 Patriot, tenth)
Sun. 8 – Loyola* (9-21, 8-10 Patriot, eighth)
Wed. 11 – Colgate* (13-17, 9-9, tie-fourth)
Sat. 14 – at American* (12-19, tie-fourth)
Wed. 18 – Holy Cross* (15-20, 5-13 Patriot, ninth; NCAA first round)
Sat. 21 – Navy* (19-14, 9-9 Patriot, tie-fourth)
Wed. 25 – at Boston* (19-15, 11-7 Patriot, third; College Insider second round)
Sat. 28 – Bucknell*
Wed. 1 – Lafayette*
Sat. 4 – at Loyola*
Wed. 8 – at Colgate*
Sat. 11 – American*
Wed. 15 – at Holy Cross*
Sat. 18 – at Navy*
Wed. 22 – Boston*
Sat. 25 – at Lehigh*
28-March 8 – Patriot League tourney
Asterisk indicates Patriot League game; all times still to be determined

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Source: Army offer baseball opening to Boston College assistant

Boston College assistant coach Jim Foster has been offered Army’s vacant head baseball coaching position, according to a source.

Foster, an associate head coach at Boston College since 2014, was the head coach at Rhode Island from 2006 to 2013.

Army fired Matt Reid on May 16 after three seasons. Reid took over for Joe Sottolano, who was fired in the fall of 2013.

Canisius coach Mike McRae was also considered for the position, according to sources. McRae opted to stay at Canisius.

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College softball action heating up

College softball is headed into second week of playoff action, with three local programs still playing.
Mount Saint Mary follows up its win in the Skyline Conference tourney with its second appearance in the NCAA Division III championships. The Knights are headed to Ithaca for a four-team, double-elimination regional. The Mount opens with host Ithaca at 3:30 p.m. Friday, with Moravian and Worcester State opening at 1 p.m. The Ithaca regional games will have live video and stats available at athletics.ithaca.edu and livestream.com.
Army is the second seed in the Patriot League tournament, hosted by Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. The Black Knights will open play Thursday against Boston University at 2:30 p.m. Lehigh and Bucknell precede at 12 p.m. There will be three games Friday at 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., and two games Saturday at 12 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. (if necessary). All Patriot tourney games can be viewed online at PatriotLeague.tv.
Vicky Lattanzio of nearby Fishkill plays for Lehigh.
Marist is the tourney host for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The tourney got underway with two first-round games on Wednesday. On Thursday, Marist hosts Fairfield at 11:30 a.m., preceded by Manhattan and Quinnipiac at 9 a.m. There will be losers’ bracket games at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. The games can be viewed online at MAAC.tv (subscription).

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Army’s Minato excited for tonight’s ESPN 3-point contest

By Ken McMillan
Times Herald-Record

Army’s Kelsey Minato didn’t travel all the way to Texas just to participate in a college 3-point shooting contest.
She wants to win.
“I am really competitive,’’ Minato said Wednesday night. “There are a lot of good shooters there for the girls. It will be tough but I think if I just shoot my shot, and stay down and square up and just let it go, I think I will be okay.’’
There are eight men and eight women selected for the 3-point contests, and eight men for the slam dunk competition. The show will be broadcast at 9 p.m. on ESPN.
Each female shooter will have 60 seconds to shoot 25 balls – five balls on five racks set up around the 3-point arc set at 20 feet, 9 inches. The fifth ball counts for two points as opposed to one. Two shooters will participate at a time, on opposite sides of the court. The top four scorers from the quarterfinal round advance to the semifinal round, and then the top two meet in the finals.
Joining Minato in the women’s contest are Rachel Banham of Minnesota; Katie Hempen of Arizona State; Maggie Lyon of Northwestern; Tiffany Mitchell of South Carolina; Lexi Eaton Rydalch of Brigham Young; Megan Podkowa of DePaul; and, Janee Thompson of Kentucky.
“I’m really excited,’’ Minato said. “I think it will be a lot of fun. There’s a lot of good shooters there so it will be good competition.’’
By season’s percentages, Minato is ranked highest at 47.8 percent (second in nation), followed by Banham (39.0 percent, 52nd) and Rydalch (37.8 percent, 63rd). By made 3-pointers per game, Banham ranks second in the nation (3.72), followed by Minato in fifth (3.38) and Rydalch in 47th (2.55).
The participants practiced at the Berry Center, located in the Houston suburb of Cypress, Texas, on Wednesday. Minato liked the arena to a familiar setting of Bucknell’s Sojka Pavilion.
“It wasn’t too bad,’’ Minato said of the recreation center setting with more than 8,000 seats. “I wasn’t sure what the court would be like, like if the backboard is going to be really far back from the bleachers. It felt pretty good. I got some shots up and my shot was feeling pretty good so hopefully I will be able to carry it over to (Thursday).’’
Minato has been practicing ever since Army was ousted in the first round of the NCAA tournament at Syracuse on March 18. With the help of coaches and teammates, they tried to simulate the contest conditions, only Army had only two ball racks, and neither could fit the required five basketballs. So there was a lot of rebounding, passing the ball, re-racking and movement of the racks, which made for chaotic conditions.
“It was tough trying to practice and trying to simulate how it’s going to be here,’’ Minato said. “There were a lot of things going on and it was really distracting. It was hard to focus when there’s things moving in front of me and balls flying everywhere.’’
“(Wednesday) was a lot easier because I got to practice with the actual ball, the actual rack and on the actual court,’’ she added. “I am glad I got some shots up at the actual competition (site).’’
Minato said she enjoyed spending time with her fellow competitors, comparing their collegiate experiences and discussing their post-graduate plans.
Minato said she hopes to be in contention by the end of the semifinal round.
“There’s a little bit more pressure because I am competing to win and I want to win,’’ Minato said, “but it’s also fun because it’s not like a game. It doesn’t count on our record or anything like that. I’m definitely out here to win. I didn’t just come here to shoot with other girls; I actually want to win.’’
Following the contest, Minato will make her way to Indianapolis to participate in two separate showcase camps on Saturday and Sunday in her bid to impress pro scouts.

Twitter: @KenMcMillanTHR

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Spiker sad to leave Army, excited for opportunity at Drexel

By Ken McMillan
Times Herald-Record

WEST POINT – As a young, up-and-coming head basketball coach, Zach Spiker has been lured in the past with offers to leave his job at Army but nothing compares to his next assignment.
On Friday morning Spiker will be announced as the new coach at Drexel University, which plays in the Atlantic 10 Conference. He takes over for Bruiser Flint, who was let go after 15 seasons with the Dragons.
“It’s invigorating to be a part of Philadelphia basketball,’’ Spiker said late Thursday night. “Being there today, you could feel it.’’
Spiker leaves after seven seasons at West Point and an overall record of 102-112. During his tenure, Army put an end to a burdensome 27-year streak of losing seasons in 2012-13 and, this season, reached the national postseason for the first time since 1978. However, Spiker leaves with one big regret: not getting Army into the NCAA tournament for the first time.
There was raised hope when Patriot League top seed Bucknell was upset in the quarterfinal round, giving Army a rare semifinal home game but, like the Bison, the Black Knights also fell victim to Holy Cross in a rather forgettable outing. Army was granted a berth in the College Insider Tournament but lost at New Jersey Institute of Technology in an opening-round game, falling one victory short of 20 wins.
Army will be losing a heralded senior class that helped turn the program’s fortunes. Kyle Wilson, Tanner Plomb, Kevin Ferguson, Dylan Cox and Larry Toomey combined for 6,115 points over four seasons.
“I am excited for the future of West Point basketball,’’ Spiker said.
Spiker said the decision to leave West Point was not easy but this job was too good to refuse.
“I just haven’t had an opportunity like this,’’ Spiker said. “There have been other opportunities but not one as unique and special as one in the City of Philadelphia that has such a great tradition. … It’s an opportunity we’re very excited about and we’re jumping in with both feet very quickly.’’
Spiker said West Point will be hard to leave behind.
“That’s the one thing that I think people misanalyze, that just because you move on to another job, that it’s easy,’’ Spiker said while choking up. “West Point will always be a part of our lives, our kids’ lives. … It’s been a part of us. It’s the fabric of who our family is and that will never change.
“There’s parts that’s exciting (about leaving) and parts that’s really sad, because we’ve worked hard and built things the right way.’’

Twitter: @KenMcMillanTHR

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Men’s basketball: College Insider Tournament schedule

The College Insider Tournament was announced late Sunday night, and it appears to be missing three matchups (maybe still to come) out of the 16 first-round contests.
Army will face New Jersey Tech on Wednesday in its first postseason appearance since 1978.
The CIT follows the old NIT system by doing away with a bracket format and scheduling the matchups after every round.
If Army wins, you have to figure the Black Knights would face the likes of Boston University or Fordham, Columbia, New Hampshire or Fairfield in the second round.
All early round games will be webcast at WatchCollegeInsider.com

Here is the round-of-32 schedule (all times Eastern). The NCAA RPI ratings as of late Sunday night are in RED:

223-Jackson State (19-15, Southwestern Athletic-third place) at 177-Sam Houston State (18-15, Southland-fourth place), 7:30 p.m.
206-South Carolina State (19-14, Mid Eastern-second place) at 92-Grand Canyon (25-6, Western Athletic-second place), 10 p.m.

194-Mercer (19-14, Southern-seventh place) at 165-Coastal Carolina (18-11, Big South-fourth place), 7 p.m.
96-Louisiana Monroe (20-13, Sun Belt-second place) at 167-Furman (18-15, Southern-third place), 7 p.m.
180-Ball State (19-13, Mid-American West-first place) at 149-Tennessee State (20-10, Ohio Valley East-second place), 8 p.m.

104-Texas Arlington (23-13, Sun Belt-third place) at 277-Savannah State (16-15, Mid-Eastern-fifth place), 7 p.m.
196-Boston University (18-14, Patriot-third place) at 176-Fordham (17-13, Atlantic 10-eighth place), 7 p.m.
220-Norfolk State (17-16, Mid-Eastern-third place) at 133-Columbia (21-10, Ivy-third place), 7 p.m.
179-New Hampshire (19-12, America East-fourth place) at 142-Fairfield (19-13, Metro Atlantic-fourth place), 7 p.m.
214-Army (19-13, Patriot-fourth place) at 207-New Jersey Tech (17-14, Atlantic Sun-third place), 7:30 p.m.
212-Tennessee Martin (19-14, Ohio Valley West-first place) at 156-Central Michigan (17-15, Mid American-second place), 8 p.m.
75-Cal Irvine (25-9, Big West-second place) at 218-North Dakota (17-15, Big Sky-sixth place), 8 p.m.
85-Texas A&M Corpus Christi (25-7, Southland-second place) at 155-Louisiana Lafayette (17-14, Sun Belt-fourth place), 8 p.m.

Round of 16
Fri.-Sun. March 18-20

Tues.-Thur. March 22-24

Sunday, March 27

Tuesday, March 29

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Men’s basketball: Army to play at NJ Tech Wednesday

Army’s first foray into the national postseason since 1978 will take the Black Knights to Newark, N.J. on Wednesday, March 16, to face New Jersey Institute of Technology in a first-round game of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. For ticket information, go to NJITtix.com.
New Jersey Tech (17-4), of the Atlantic Sun Conference, will be making its second consecutive appearance in the CIT. The Highlanders won three home games in the 2015 CIT.
Army (19-13) will be seeking its fifth 20-win season in program history. Kyle Wilson needs just six points to reach 2,000 in his career.
Playing on the road has not been a disadvantage for Army this season – the Black Knights are 11-5, tied for the fourth-highest road win total in NCAA Division I. However, the Highlanders are 24-8 at the Fleisher Athletic Center the past two seasons.
Tech’s  Tim Coleman needs six points to reach 1,000 in his career. Junior Damon Lynn needs 13 points to break his own school single-season scoring mark (578), which he established last season.

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Army women’s basketball semifinal preview vs. Lehigh

What: Patriot League semifinals
Who: No. 4 Lehigh Mountain Hawkws (18-12, 10-8 PL) vs. No. 1 Army Black Knights (27-2, 17-1 PL)
When: 5 p.m. today
Where: Christl Arena, West Point (5,043, plenty of good seats available)
Internet: PatriotLeague.tv
Radio: WBNR (1260-AM), WLNA (1420-AM); Sirius 119, XM 203
How to follow: On Twitter, use hashtag #V845U to follow Ken McMillan’s updates
Second semifinal: Loyola (Md.) vs. Bucknell, 7:30 p.m.
Championship: 6 p.m. Saturday, CBS Sports Network

Army’s projected starters: No. 5 Kelsey Minato, Sr., G, 23.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.8 apg; No. 21 Janae McNeal, Soph., G, 7.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg; No. 24 Jean Parker, Sr. G/F, 7.3 ppg, 5.o rpg; No. 33 Aimee Oertner, Sr. F/C, 9.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg; No. 41 Brianna Johnson, Sr., G/F, 5.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg

Lehigh’s projected starters: No. 11 Taylor Campbell, Soph., G, 2.2 ppg, 0.8 rpg; No. 11 Lexi Martins, Jr., F, 15.2 ppg, 13.8 rpg; No. 30 Quinci Mann, Soph., G, 13.3 ppg, 1.6 rpg; No. 34 Kerry Kinek, Sr., F, 11.6 ppg, 8.0 rpg; No. 35 Amina Affini, Sr., G, 6.2 ppg, 2.8 rpg

This is a very dangerous matchup for the Black Knights. Army did sweep Lehigh during the regular season (63-39 at home on Dec. 30, 69-49 at Lehigh on Feb. 27) but the Mountain Hawks beat the Black Knights in last year’s semifinals, 76-57, on March 9, 2015.

Lehigh has four players represented on the Patriot League’s all-star teams. Junior forward Lexi Martins made the first team, sophomore guard Quinci Mann made the second squad, senior forward Kerry KIney earned third-team mention and freshman guard Hailey Pascoe was named to the all-rookie team.

Army’s Kelsey Minato won the Patriot League player of the year honors for the third time (2013, 2014) and made the first team. Aimee Oertner was a second-team choice.

Lehigh has won three Patriot League championships, but none since 2010.

Army has won 17 consecutive games, a program record. The Black Knights’ 27 wins is also a program record.

A win tonight would give Lehigh its seventh 20-win season

Army’s Janae McNeal has scored in every game this season, as have Minato and Oertner.

Aimee Oertner is coming off a nine-block game against Colgate, giving hr 283 for her career.

Army has a 4-1 game record as a No. 1 seed in the tournament.

Army is 3-4 all-time against Lehigh in the Patriot League playoffs. However, the Black Knights have dropped their last four playoff meetings with Lehigh (2004, 2007, 2009, 2015).

Army is headed to the national postseason regardless of finish in the tournament, as the No. 1 seed. Army will head to either it’s second NCAA appearance in the past three seasons (and third overall) or to its third Women’s National Invitation Tournament. Army lost to Maryland in the 2014 NCAA tournament, and lost to Fordham (2013) and St. John’s (2015) in the WNIT.

Kelsey Minato (2,500 career points) is averaging 21.6 points in seven Patriot playoff games, Aimee Oertner 7.3 and Jean Parker 4.6. Brianna Johnson is averaging six points in five Patriot playoff games.

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Breaking news: Army men’s basketball to play in postseason

By Ken McMillan
Times Herald-Record

WEST POINT – Zach Spiker could hardly contain his excitement, listening to the words that people associated with Army men’s basketball have longed to hear.
“On behalf of the College Insiders Tournament, we would love to invite Army basketball into this year’s CIT and bring postseason basketball back to West Point for the first time since 1978,’’ selection chairman Jamie Kachmarik told the team over a speaker phone on Tuesday afternoon.
With that, the team room in the Kimsey Center, packed with about 45 people, broke out into huge applause.
“Mr. Kachmarik, as you can tell from that applause that is a resounding yes. We happily accept,’’ Spiker replied.
Army’s long wait to return to postseason play is over. The full 32-team CIT bracket will not be announced until Sunday once conference tournaments are concluded, though the Black Knights may learn of their opponent before then. The CIT emphasizes regional play in the early rounds that begin Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Army officially announced its selection on Thursday morning.
It’s not the NCAA tournament, or even the National Invitation Tournament, which Army played in eight times, the last coming in 1978, but it is clearly a positive step for a program that has rid itself of a haunting past that included 27 consecutive losing seasons until a talented Class of 2016 came along.
“I am just very happy to see them rewarded for their dedication and hard work and commitment to the program,’’ said Spiker, now in his seventh season as head coach.
Army learned of its CIT bid two days after a stunning 60-38 loss to eventual champion Holy Cross in the Patriot League semifinals on Sunday, putting an end to NCAA tournament hopes once again.
“After a loss that we had Sunday,’’ said senior Tanner Plomb, “it was kind of hard to digest everything. Hearing news like this definitely brings a little light onto the next couple weeks. It is definitely disappointing (not getting to the NCAAs) … but being able to play in the postseason is something special no matter what tournament. To bring that back to men’s basketball is exciting.’’
That was the message shared with the team by party attendees Pat Harris, Dr. Jim Oxley and Bill Schutsky, three links to the last times Army played in the postseason.
“Thanks a lot, thank you very much,’’ Harris told the team, as a proud alum. He played on the 1978 NIT team that lost to Rutgers 72-70, and later went on to coach Army. “Everybody has been waiting for this for a long time. We do appreciate it so thank you very much.’’
Oxley, the 1969-70 team captain, played on three of Army’s NIT teams. He told the players they have an opportunity to reach a milestone of 20 wins with just one more victory, cementing their place in team history.
“I am just so excited for the coach and the players, especially the seniors who have been through this for the last four years, with that pressure on their head to make it to a postseason tournament,’’ Oxley said. “This couldn’t be better. We’re very excited for them. We know they are going to do well. I think this will round out a very successful four years for the seniors, and be a platform the program to continue to improve.’’
Schutsky, a 1968 team captain who played in the 1966 and 1968 NIT, was impressed with how this year’s team bounced back after Plomb and Kevin Ferguson returned from injuries and made a late run to secure the No. 4 seed and home court in the Patriot League playoffs.
“You guys had a great year,’’ Schutsky said. “We’re really proud of you for all your accomplishments … The thing that stands out for me is you had a lot of adversity this year, you had a lot of injuries and you never quit. … That is really a great thing for you. Don’t quit now. You have everything in front of you. Don’t quit now.’’
Kachmarik, during his three-minute phone call, said the selection committee was impressed by Army’s 65 wins posted over the last four years, its 11-5 road record this season and the unique distinction of having four 1,000-point career scorers from the senior class.
“Every season, there are a handful of stories that are captivating,’’ Spiker said. “I think Army going back to the postseason for the first time since 1978 is certainly one of those.’’
The CIT, created in 2009, is made up of mid-major schools only, so it should be an even playing field. Through the first seven years, CIT teams have averaged 20 wins during the season.
“No matter what team we play, we have a chance to win the game,’’ said senior point guard Dylan Cox. “I believe in the guys, I believe in my teammates and I believe in the talent. I believe in the coaching staff. I think any game we play at the mid-major level, for this instance, I think we have a chance to make a deep run and win the thing.’’
Army played in the NIT in 1961, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970 and 1978 – the Black Knights finished third in 1964, 1965 and 1970. Army was invited to the 1968 NCAA tournament but coach Bob Knight turned down the offer because most coached figured it would be impossible to beat powerhouses UCLA or Houston in the NCAAs, and Knight believed Army could win the NIT. Years later, Army still has the dubious distinction of being one of five programs that were around when NCAA Division I was created in 1949 to have never played in the NCAA tourney.

Twitter: @KenMcMillanTHR

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    Ken McMillan has been covering sports since he got his first writing job in 1979. He has covered Section 9 athletics for the past 34 years. He reports on college sports, including Army and Marist College. He also writes on TV/radio sports news, ... Read Full
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