By BILL SCHNIER
Special to the Parade
It’s time for NCAA Division I college basketball at the South Padre Island Convention Centre.
The Ninth Annual SPI Invitational is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 25 and Saturday, Nov. 26, with four games each day.
The schedule follows:
Friday, Nov. 25:
12 p.m. Florida A&M vs. Southern University
2:30 p.m. University of N. Colorado vs. Western Carolina Univ.
5 p.m. Rice University vs. Northern Iowa
7:30 p.m. Providence College vs. Iowa State
Saturday, Nov. 26:
1 p.m. Loser of FAMU/SU vs. Loser of UNC/WCU
3:30 p.m. Winner of FAMU/SU vs. Winner of UNC/WCU
6:30 p.m. Iowa State vs. Rice University
9 p.m. Providence College vs. Northern Iowa
In the first round of the SPI Invitational, Iowa State handily defeated Western Carolina 90-62, Northern Iowa defeated Northern Colorado 78-69, Providence beat Florida A&M 87-65 and Rice crushed Southern 90-65. In round two, Iowa State edged Northern Colorado 90-82, UNI beat W. Carolina 59-39, Providence bettered Southern 59-53 and Rice defeated FAMU 75-59. The first two rounds were played at on-campus sites.
Tournament tickets, priced at $55 for all eight games, can be purchased at the SPI Convention Centre Box Office (888-774-8587) or online at www.sopadre.com. Individual game tickets are priced at $15 and will be available at the door on both Friday and Saturday. Children under 12 will be admitted free with a paying adult.
Anyone purchasing a $55 ticket for the college tournament will receive a second ticket free (two for $55), and also one complimentary ticket for the SpawGlass Sweet Sixteen high school tournament scheduled Dec. 2-3 at the SPI Convention Centre.
The 2011 SpawGlass Sweet 16 features defending national champion Houston Yates High School and St. Thomas (Houston), who won the 2010 Texas private school championship and was runner-up in the 2010 SPI tourney. In addition, defending champion Converse Judson from San Antonio returns, along with local playoff teams Roma, Harlingen South, Brownsville Hanna, Porter and Rivera. Also participating will be McAllen High, Austin Westwood and The Woodlands, currently ranked #14 in Texas.
All police, fire, EMS and Coast Guard members in uniform will be admitted free of charge to the Sweet 16, with a portion of all proceeds going to the South Padre Island Fireman’s Fund. Under the sponsorship of SPI Hoops, Inc., tournament bracelets for all 27 games are priced at $10 for adults and $5 for students. Individual game tickets will be sold at the door and are priced at $5 for adults and $3 for students. Children under 12 will be admitted free.
Call the Convention Centre at (888) 774-8587 for tickets.