NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- The Monroe Mustangs will begin the 2011-12 men's basketball season Thursday night by hosting the first-ever Mustangs Invitational at the Monroe Athletic Complex (MAC) in downtown New Rochelle beginning at 7 p.m.
Monroe, the No. 2 ranked team in the preseason National Junior College Athletic Association poll, will meet the top-ranked College of Southern Idaho Golden Eagles in the anticipated matchup Saturday at 3 p.m. in the weekends final game. It will be the first time that the top two ranked NJCAA teams have met this early in the season since No. 1 Indian River met No. 2 Chipola in 2008.
"It's going to be an exciting few days at the MAC," said Monroe Athletic Director Bert Shillingford. "What a way to get the basketball season started. We established a natural rivalry in last year's National Championships with CSI and when we invited them to New York we didn't quite anticipate that it would be No. 1 vs. No. 2. This is going to be fun."
The action begins with Valhallas Westchester Community College meeting National Junior College Athletic Association defending champion CSI. The Mustangs will play in their opener Friday night at 8 p.m. against Genesee.
The Golden Eagles defeated the Mustangs 93-76 in the 2011 NJCAA Division I Men's Basketball National Championships last March and went on to win the national title, while Monroe finished third. "The preseason polls say that these are the NJCAA's best two teams," Monroe head coach Jeff Brustad said. "So as confident as we are about our prospects for the season, this is as tough an early test as you can have. Are we looking forward to the challenge? You bet."Along with Monroe, CSI, Genesee, and Westchester, Harcum will be participating. Admission to the tournament is free for anyone with a Monroe college ID and $3 for all others.As part of the college's "Sing the National Anthem" program, Kenneth Ketchum of Retro Fitness will perform on Friday night and Yamilet Cortes-Gil of the Bronx, N.Y. will sing on Saturday.
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