SUNDAY, MARCH 15, 2009
JU will travel to Florida for the first round of the NIT
JU alum Otis Smith addresses the Dolphins
JU alum Otis Smith addresses the Dolphins
The 22-year wait for the postseason at JU will end on Wednesday as the Dolphins will travel to face Florida in the first round of the NIT.

Tickets will also be available through the Florida ticket office (after 6 p.m. on Monday – website or phone: 352-375-4683 x6800).

The game will be broadcast on the JU Sports Network, with Barry Milligan calling the action on 1010XL. The Bono’s Barbecue pregame show will air at 7:30 p.m.

The winner between the top-seeded Gators and eighth-seeded Dolphins will face the winner of No. 4 seed Miami and No. 5 seed Providence.

“We are excited about going to the postseason and playing Florida,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren. “This is a great experience for our team and great exposure for our program. Florida is a great program that is well coached and has a lot of experience.

“It’s an exciting time around our program right now and we’re looking forward to the game.”

The last time JU was in the postseason, the Dolphins traveled to Vanderbilt for the 1987 NIT, losing by two – a span of 626 games between postseason appearances.

This is the fifth trip to the NIT for JU (1972, 1974, 1980, 1987), with JU advancing to the Final Four twice (1972 and 1974). The Dolphins sport a 5-5 record in the event, but have lost their last four games dating back to 1974.

Florida owns a 26-4 lead in the all-time series, with JU’s last win coming in 1994.

OTIS SMITH RETURNS TO TALK TO THE TEAM: JU legend and Orlando Magic general manager Otis Smith returned to his alma mater’s campus on Saturday to give a motivational speech to the basketball team in its preparation for the first postseason trip since 1987.

“It’s great to have alumni like Otis who take pride in their University and are willing to come back and speak to the team,” Warren said. “It reminds our guys that they aren’t just playing for themselves, they are a part of a proud tradition of success.”