PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Robert Morris didn’t make the NCAA Tournament, but their consolation prize isn’t too bad.
The Colonials will host defending national champion, Kentucky in a first-round game of the NIT.
On Monday, fans lined up on campus to get their hands on tickets.
After playing in the NCAA Tournament, the NIT may seem less desirable, but Robert Morris University’s first opponent is anything but.
The hum of the lights was all that could be heard at the Sewall Center, but come tomorrow night, anxious fans will pack the court to see RMU take on the Kentucky Wildcats.
“Kentucky is such a big name school and such a top program. I just felt like it’s one of the biggest things to come to RMU. Might as well be a part of it,” Mike Blaire said.
“When we heard we were playing such a big school, it was so exciting. We really want to be the underdogs and we really have to get that win,” Alexa Sarsfield said.
The line started at 6:45 a.m. for tickets to see the Colonials and Wildcats. Some said it’s unheard of to see a university like Robert Morris play host to such a huge competitor.
Holding the first place in line this morning, wasn’t even a student and had no ties to either school, speaking perhaps to how exciting and anticipated this game is.
“Reigning national champ Kentucky not being able to make it to the big dance and coming to the NIT, it’s good for Robert Morris,” Mike Douglass said.
Among the differences between the teams, their playing grounds. Kentucky can pack in roughly 23,000 fans. The Sewall Center reaches capacity at around 3,100.
“Their practice facility might be as big as our home arena. But you know what, hopefully that will be up to our advantage and their detriment,” RMU Coach Andy Toole said.
There is no denying it will be a tough game. Even while winning is top priority, the other storyline here is a homecoming for Kentucky’s head coach, John Calipari from Moon Township.
“They have some physically gifted players. Guys that are bigger, faster, stronger at every position than our guys. But, that doesn’t mean that we can’t use teamwork fundamentals, technique in order to try and slow some of those guys down,” Toole said.