March 13, 2011
CONWAY, S.C. – The Coastal Carolina men’s basketball team has accepted a bid to play in the National Invitation Tournament and will face No. 1 seed Alabama on Tuesday at 7 p.m. on ESPNU from Coleman Coliseum in the opening round.
Coastal Carolina (28-5) will make its second straight trip to the NIT after earning an automatic bid by winning the Big South regular season title with a 16-2 mark inside the conference. The Chanticleers opened league play with 15 straight victories and went on to set an all-time Big South record for conference wins in a season.
It’s the second straight season that Coastal Carolina has captured the Big South regular season title and the first time since the 1990 and 1991 seasons that the Chanticleers have won consecutive league titles.
The Chanticleers were also a perfect 9-0 on the road in conference this season and became just the second team in league history to accomplish that feat. In addition, the Chants are also the first team in conference history to win five Big South road games by at least 20 points. Coastal won by 22 at VMI (Jan. 6), 21 at UNC Asheville (Jan. 20), 24 at High Point (Jan. 27), 23 at Radford (Jan. 29) and 20 at Presbyterian (Feb. 10).
Coastal Carolina is also the first team in Big South history to win at least 25 games in back-to-back seasons and also now owns the conference record for the most wins in consecutive seasons with 56.
Chanticleer senior forward Chad Gray enters the NIT averaging 14.7 points per game and 6.3 rebounds per game and needs 28 more points to become the 17th member of the Coastal Carolina 1,000-point club. Earlier this year, the Kingstree, S.C., native was named to the All-Big South first team for the second consecutive season.
Sophomore forward Sam McLaurin was tabbed to the Big South All-Academic Team following a season that saw him average 7.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.9 blocked shots per game. In fact, McLaurin set the Coastal Carolina school record for the most blocks in a season with 60, surpassing the previous record of 57 he set last season as a freshman.
Alabama enters the NIT with a 21-11 overall record and a 12-4 mark inside the Southeastern Conference. The Crimson Tide won the SEC Western Division and reached the semifinals of the SEC Tournament.
Forward JaMychal Green leads the Crimson Tide with 16.0 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.