There has been plenty of college basketball in the DFW Metroplex thus far in March.
Between March 10 and 13, The Star in Frisco hosted the Conference USA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments, and Fort Worth’s Dickies Arena hosted the American Athletic Conference (AAC) Tournament March 11-14. Dickies was also originally scheduled to host two rounds of the 2021 NCAA Tournament this spring before the NCAA decided to move the entire tournament near Indianapolis.
But never fear, hoop fans; the National Invitation Tournament (NIT), a postseason college basketball event since 1938, will be played in DFW between March 17 and 28. Games will be played at the 4,500-seat Comerica Center in Frisco, home to the NBA G-League’s Texas Legends, and at the Super Pit in Denton, which seats around 9,800 and is normally home for the North Texas Mean Green men’s basketball teams.
With tickets to the C-USA Tournament not available to the general public and the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks currently only allowing season ticket holders in for games, the NIT – which will have its finals not played in New York City for the first time – is a great way for basketball fans to catch some in-person hoops.
Tickets to attend games are $20 and sold in blocks of two and four. Both venues are seating limited capacity. Fans can watch from home on the ESPN family of networks or the ESPN mobile app.
Players to Watch:
Derrick Alston, Jr., Senior, Guard, Boise State
The son of former NBA point guard Derrick Alston, who now coaches in the NBA G-League, Alston Jr. averaged 18.1 points and earned first-team All-Mountain West Conference honors for the Broncos, who face SMU in Frisco on Thursday.
Charles Bassey, Jr., Center, Western Kentucky
Bassey, six foot 11 inches, was the 2021 C-USA Player of the Year and the league’s top defensive player for a second straight year. The rangy big man is viewed by some as a potential NBA first-round pick who averaged just over 16 points and 10 rebounds as a junior.
Jalen Crutcher, Sr., Guard, Dayton
Crutcher averaged 18.1 points and 4.8 rebounds this season for the Flyers, and earned first-team All-Atlantic 10 Conference honors for the second time, making him only the second Dayton player to do so. Obi Toppin, now in the NBA, was the first.
Kendric Davis, Jr., Guard, SMU
The Houston native and TCU transfer was a unanimous first-team all-AAC selection after averaging 18.1 points, 7.4 assists and four rebounds for the Mustangs. SMU endured a month between games earlier this year due to COVID-19 protocols and winter weather, so being back on the court is a blessing for Davis and the Ponies.
DJ Stewart, Jr., RS Soph., Guard, Mississippi State
Considered by some a legit NBA prospect, Stewart Jr. earned second-team All-Southeastern Conference honors after averaging 15.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists for the Bulldogs.
Some Local Flavor:
Isaiah Crawford, Sr., Forward, Louisiana Tech (Fort Worth)
A product of North Crowley HS, Crawford has been a driving force for the Bulldogs all season and was especially stellar during his recent homecoming at the Conference USA Tournament in Frisco.
Feron Hunt, Jr., Forward, SMU (DeSoto)
Hunt earned second-team all-AAC honors for the Ponies after averaging 11.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.1 steals this season. He is an athletic, impactful player for SMU and a nice secondary scorer for the Mustangs.
JaColby Pemberton, R Sr., G, Louisiana Tech (Dallas)
Pemberton played at Lancaster HS and provides a great, steadying veteran presence for Tech. He is averaging 9.1 points, 6 rebounds and 1.3 assists for the Bulldogs.
Isaiah Stevens, Soph., G, Colorado State (Allen)
The former Allen Eagle had a strong sophomore campaign for the Rams, averaging 15.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists to earn second-team all-conference honors in the Mountain West.
The Super Pit at 41,000 enrollment UNT (Fall, 2020) actually seats 10,500. Largest attendance at this venue was in 1976 when the Mean Green hosted (& defeated) SMU before an SRO crowd of 10,700.