WMU News

Bronco men host Illinois-Chicago in NIT

March 16, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- The Western Michigan University men's basketball team has accepted a berth in the National Invitation Tournament.

The Broncos will host Illinois-Chicago on Wednesday, March 19, at 7 p.m. in WMU's University Arena. The Flames own a 21-8 overall record and were defeated by the Horizon League champion University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 75-73, in that conference's tournament semifinals March 8.

The game will mark the first-ever men's basketball postseason contest played at Western Michigan University.

"We are obviously very excited about the invitation," said Athletic Director Kathy Beauregard. "The university, fans and program deserve the recognition associated with postseason play."

The Broncos are making their first appearance in the NIT since 1992. That year, WMU finished with a 21-9 record and was defeated, 63-56, at Notre Dame in the opening round of the NIT. The program has made the postseason on just four occasions since its inception in 1913-14, participating in NCAA tournaments in 1976 and 1998, as well as a pair of NIT bids.

I am extremely happy for our players and our program," head coach Robert McCullum said. "The program has made tremendous strides over the course of the past three seasons and this is one of the rewards that comes from the improvement. There are a large number of people who made this possible."

The invitation comes on the three-year anniversary of the hiring of McCullum, who accepted the head coaching job at WMU on March 16, 2000.

Western Michigan owns an overall record of 19-10, the fourth-highest win total in school history. The squad finished 10-8 in the Mid-American Conference for the second straight year and advanced to the MAC Tournament quarterfinals for the first time since 1997.

Media contact: Scott Kuykendall; 616 387-4138; scott.kuykendall@wmich.edu

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